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What the newspapers say: December 18, 2006

Luni, 18 decembrie 2006, 0:00

Romania celebrates 17 years since the anti-communist revolution these days and one of the highlights is a ceremony where authorities are expected to condemn communism for the first time officially, as newspapers point out on Monday. What the last 17 years meant for Romania’s preparation to join the European Union is also discussed in the papers.

And a bit of humor couldn’t hurt when one of the Romanian twins forming the Cheeky Girls is having an affair with a British MP.

The Romanian Parliament gathers in a joint session today for hearings over a report blasting the crimes of the former communist regime, Adevarul reports.

According to the newspaper, the event will be attended by key personalities in recent European history who have fought hard against communism - King Michael of Romania, ex-Czech President Vaclav Havel, the leader of the Solidarity movement in Poland, Lech Walesa, and ex-Bulgaria leader Jelio Jelev.

According to Cotidianul, the anti-communism sentence today comes at the end of a year when a presidential commission of historians studied the effects of the 1945-1989 regime in Romania. “Criminal and illegitimate” - that is how Romanian communism is described based on scientific data gathered over the past year.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that the parliamentary session today is expected to be extremely tensed as the far-right Greater Romania Party-PRM has announced it would boycott it with boos against participating President Traian Basescu.

And Senator Ion Iliescu, Romania’s first post-communist president who is mentioned among top communists blamed in the report, would not attend the event.

For its part, Jurnalul National tries to decipher the mysteries of the December 1989 Revolution that the country marks starting last weekend.

According to the newspaper, the two biggest mysteries of the Revolution are the identity of “terrorists” who were blamed for the violence in Bucharest those days and the real timeline of the execution of ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife.

Cotidianul has flashbacks today as it recalls the 12 most important events in the last 17 years of Romanian history, before the country joins the EU on January 1, 2007.

Between the miners’ crusades to Bucharest in the early nineties and the electoral changes of the period, the newspaper sees the ongoing revelations about the communist past of incumbent officials as the most important event since the 2004 elections.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Adevarul quotes a new poll that says ex-President Iliescu is the first politician that Romanians would send to hell, while current President Basescu would be sent to heaven.

However, Basescu also risks the fires of hell as many Romanians see him there along Iliescu, ex-PM Adrian Nastase and far-right leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor.

Gandul is much more interested in an unofficial referendum organized by the National Council of Szeklers (ethnic Hungarians in Romania) on the idea of territorial autonomy for the Szeklers Land - two counties in central Romania.

According to the newspaper, most voters in the villages visited by NCS representatives yesterday voted yes “despite having no idea what autonomy means”.

And Evenimentul Zilei quotes British media reports according to which British LibDem MP Lembit Opik, 41, broke with his fiance Sian Lloyd, 48, a weather presenter for the BBC, for Gabriela Irimia, one of the two twins forming the Cheeky Girls band that had a major hit in the British charts two years ago - “Touch my Bum”.

London tabloids have announced that Lloyd was the one to drop the engagement with Opik two weeks ago as she blamed it on Opik’s lifestyle.

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