Romanian newspapers on Wednesday discuss the impact of a key vote in the Parliament on Tuesday that saw the governing Liberals joining the opposition against President Traian Basescu. Basescu is also attacked on a different front, with revelations about his secret links with a former officer of the communist intelligence service the Securitate.

The papers also try to clear up the situation that led to two Romanian workers being retained in Iraq as they returned home yesterday.

PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu’ Liberals (PNL) joined the opposition Social Democrats (PSD), the Greater Romania Party (PRM) and the Smaller Conservative Party (PC) and Hungarian Democrats (UDMR) in voting for changes to the existing referendum law.

The changes would allow a simpler procedure to organize a referendum to suspend the head of state, thus turning into a vote against incumbent President Traian Basescu.

According to Cotidianul, what the vote effectively means is that PNL thus forced its governing coalition partners, Basescu’s Democrats (PD) and Liberal Democrats (PLD) into the opposition, as the vote proved a new majority yesterday - that of PNL, UDMR and the opposition.

For its part, Evenimentul Zilei signals that with this move a key obstacle was removed in PSD’s efforts to bring down the President. But, if organized fast, such a referendum would lead to the postponement of European Parliament elections in Romania, due to part of the changes approved yesterday.

And Gandul speaks of Basescu’s own furious attack on the Parliament yesterday, as he used a speech related to the activities of the National Anticorruption Department to raise serious accusations to the Parliament such as that “political people are drawing laws for criminals, not for the political interest” of the people.

Meanwhile, Cotidianul reports that a simple motion tabled against Justice minister Monica Macovei, who is supported by President Basescu, has all chances to be passed in Parliament.

It only depends to PM Tariceanu if one of Europe’s favorite Romanian politicians remains in office - if Tariceanu’s Liberals vote against the motion - or leaves the government - if PNL joins the opposition vote again.

The motion accuses Macovei, who is known for her initiatives to combat corruption and reform the Justice system, of hiding her lack of accomplishments by lying to the people, the Parliament, the Government and European for a and of creating conflicts within state institutions.

Evenimentul Zilei, on the other hand, quotes a former prime minister, petre Roman, who in an interview speaks of a secret link between Basescu and an officer of the dreaded Securitate, the communist-era intelligence service.

According to Roman, the man, Marin Antonescu, was Basescu’s former superior when he worked in Anvers, Belgium, when communists were in power back home.

Said to be a former member of the foreign intelligence branch of the Securitate, he now serves as deputy head of a local Democratic Party branch. According to Evenimentul Zilei, the attack comes as Roma’s father was presented in a recent presidential report blasting the communist regime as a theoretician of that regime.

President Basescu dismissed the claim and, challenging Petre Roman’s “memory”, he said his contacts with Antonescu were limited to consular activities for Romanian ships in Belgium.

Also in Evenimentul Zilei, Romanians eager to see what really happened to the two Romanian workers retained in Iraq under espionage suspicions for several months and released last week will have to wait for at least several days. That is because the two, Adrian Gancean and Nelu Ilie, promised to respond later to the curiosity of journalists.

But the newspaper quotes Ilie complaining that “we’re used as weapons and I don’t know why”.

Their case led to the forced resignation of Romanian Foreign minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu on Monday.

According to Jurnalul National, their return only amplifies the mistery in their case, while the two were obviously angry with the Romanian media for how it dealt with their situation.