The suspension of Romania’s Defense minister by President Traian Basescu comes as a surprise for most Romanian newspapers on Wednesday. The papers also debate the models Romanian youth appreciate, as debated in a British Council-sponsored study published yesterday. And pressure is rising on Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu for a series of moves the media is ready to sanction.

President Traian Basescu decided yesterday to suspend Defense minister Teodor Atanasiu following a long waiting criminal complaint against him by a presidential aide and an opposition deputy. The two accused Atanasiu of abuse in office in a scandal related to a call by the Liberal party, to which the minister belongs, for Romanian troops withdrawal from Iraq.

According to Cotidianul, it is a first in Romania’s post-1989 history that a minister is suspended based on a law on ministry responsibility, and not simply fired. President Basescu’s reasoning is that a future criminal case against the minister may involve ministry officers, which might affect the course of justice.

For Gandul, the news comes a big surprise as prosecutors hadn’t even started criminal procedures against Atanasiu and the head of state had talked with Atanasiu about the future chief of staff of the Romanian army. And the newspaper sees the suspension as the heaviest blow dealt by the President in the “war of palaces”.

Traian Basescu, a Democrat, has been involved in a long-lasting state of conflict with the government which brings together the Democrats and Liberals and is run by Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Jurnalul National changes the Defense Ministry now joins a long series of key institutions that were beheaded or left at the hand of interim managers.

The list includes Romania’s main intelligence services, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the body studying the archives of the communist secret police, the House of Deputies, the Authority for Tourism and even the Presidential Administration.

Also of major interest today, the newspapers debate the findings of a study produced by a Romanian group with the support of the British Council, on the values respected by Romanian youngsters these days.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that the study shows Romanian students see themselves as rebellious and stressed who say their parents are communist, “expired” and quiet.

According to the newspaper, one can find Bill Gates, Jesus, Hitler, Angelina Jolie and President Traian Basescu among the model personalities the Romanian youth appreciate.

They also believe education is important, but cannot be find in school as the Romanian education system fails to respond to their needs and wishes.

According to Cotidianul, the same report finds Romanian youngsters appreciate people like reputed scholar Gabriel Liiceanu, but would find themselves mired in a way of thought similar to that of far-right leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor. That is because they prove rather discriminating about gypsies and gay people.

And the study producers found that ethnic Hungarians were seen as planning to steal Transylvania from Romania even by Hungarian youths in the Hungarian-dominated city of Cluj.

That led ORICUM, the organization that produced the study, to suggest a process of “rebranding” for Romanian minorities, as Adevarul reports.

Elsewhere in the newspapers, Cotidianul worries that PM Tariceanu is sacrificing career diplomats in order to save the seats of Liberal state secretaries in the Romanian Foreign Ministry in a wave of restructuring announced earlier this year.

One of the first victims, according to the paper, may be former Romanian Ambassador to Vatican Teodor Baconshi, as Tariceanu would favor a Liberal for his seat in the ministry structure.

And Evenimentul Zilei links the same Tariceanu to another story: Liberal Party leaders, it says, are looking for solutions to oust the head of PM’s chancellery, Aleodor Francu, on reasons that he may be proven to have been involved in political police activities under the communist regime.