Romanian authorities have intensified efforts to avoid a major political crisis following the withdrawal of a junior member of the governing coalition, newspapers note on Tuesday. The media also discuss a report on ethnic tolerance in Romania and a new wave of stories related to the EU accession next month.

Santa Claus is making his first appearances - as a target for Communist rulers in the Moldovan Republic.

Adevarul notes that during the talks that followed the Conservative Party-PC decision to withdraw from the government last weekend, a change of balance is taking form between President Traian Basescu and Liberal Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Tariceanu, who’s party lagged behind Basescu’s Democrats in opinion polls, has opposed the idea of early elections. The idea was pressed for by the President ever since the 2004 elections, when an alliance of Liberals and Democrats, joined by the Hungarian Democrats, had to accept the PC in a governing coalition so that it have a parliamentary majority.

But Basescu has lowered his voice regarding early elections lately as he was waiting for a dissident movement within the Liberal Party to gain enough strength to join such a poll, as Adevarul notes. The situation has now reversed and Liberal leader Tariceanu seems to have the upper hand.

On the same issue, Evenimentul Zilei reports that for the time being both the Liberals and the Democrats are trying to lure enough vote to secure an artificial parliamentary majority and are not excluding the possible help from various PC parliamentarians.

According to Gandul, moves to clear things up after the PC departure may come against the Romanian Constitution, as the Democrats and Liberals seem ready to breach constitutional procedures in order to maintain a government.

Because of all these, Cotidianul believes that by leaving the governmental coalition PC “took an empty bite” as its plan to “produce a governmental crisis” did not have the expected results.

The same newspaper also shows special interest in another event: the government has published a study on the climate of interethnic relations in Romania as the country prepares to join the EU.

According to Cotidianul, from a social-economic perspective Romanians see ethnic Hungarians in the country as diligent and civilized, but from a community perspective they see them as selfish, hostile and arrogant.

Some 80% of Romanians want Hungarian-dominated counties in Romania do not have a larger autonomy and 43% oppose the use of the Hungarian language in public. The poll, according to Cotidianul, reveals a decreasing tolerance towards the Jews and the Rroma community.

The latter as seen as dirty and immoral, while the former - the “classic rulers of international political-financial plots”.

The issue is also tackled in Evenimentul Zilei, which reports that the hostile attitudes of Romanians towards Hungarians, Jews and the Rroma have intensified by over 10% since the previous such study, dated 2003.

Speaking of tolerance, Cotidianul reports that the President of the Moldovan Republic, Vladimir Voronin, has ordered the Chisinau City Hall to rename the Christmas tree due to be set up in a central square of the City and ornate it with national-style items instead of the traditional Christmas designs.

The newspaper reports that Vladimir Voronin has been pleading for a new, national-style image for Santa Claus for years. In his vision, Santa should wear a traditional Moldovan outfit instead of his red garments.

Adevarul also turns its eyes on traditions - this time the Romanian ones, seen as threatened by EU accession.

“While the EU leaders have decided that pigs must be anesthetized before slaughtering, many Europeans are lured by the traditions of the Romanian village”, where pigs are rudimentarily slaughtered in courtyards during the winter holidays and turned into specific dishes on the spot.

But that, as Adevarul reports, will only happen one last time this year, as such practices are not agreed by the EU which Romania will join in January next year.