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What the newspapers say: April 21, 2008

de A.C.
Luni, 21 aprilie 2008, 7:23 English | Press Review

As June local elections are approaching, financial electoral stakes are higher and higher, one newspaper reads on Monday. Elsewhere in the news, former Romanian spies abroad now work in controversial businesses for local tycoons. In the same vein, Health minister Nicolaescu's war against pharmaceutical companies starts to resemble a poker game, where players bluff. 

Cotidianul reads about the financial stakes of the upcoming local elections: high campaign prices and huge allocated funds which exceed the legal limit imposed by the state considerably. Thus, most candidates are financially supported by local businessmen with economic interests in city halls.

On the one hand, there are cleaning contracts which exceed one billion euro and naturally attract many contractors ready to do whatever it takes to win public tenders. On the other hand, real estate developers pressure the City Hall and are ready to invest million of euro in electoral campaigns just to endorse the candidate who would favor them.

The newspaper reads that businessmen are currently funding several candidates in order to make sure their interests will be taken into account, whoever wins elections. Naturally there are several local tycoons who are known of funding certain parties.

Moreover, the newspaper investigates where these huge amounts come from and how are the money allocated since there is a legal limit to legal donations or endorsements for candidates. Democrat Liberal Vasile Blaga running for Bucharest mayor says that he cannot evaluate the exact sum of a campaign since costs increase along the way. The newspaper adds that Blaga has an unofficial amount of 10 million euro to cover for his campaign.

Bucharest Liberal candidate Ludovic Orban declared that he will invest as much as he would be able to gather, arguing that he did not plan to lean towards various financial interests. However, he admitted that he would be financed by one of the richest businessmen in Romania, Dinu Patriciu who is known of favoring Liberals.

Social Democrat's candidate Cristian Diaconescu said that he had no idea how much money his campaign will swallow and he refused to give any other details. However, the party's secretary general in Bucharest Aura Vasile said that the legal financial limit imposed by the state for local elections is 41,000 euro.

Elsewhere in the news, Evenimentul Zilei reads about former Romanian spies abroad who now work for local tycoons in energy and real estate businesses. The newspaper reads about a former Romanian foreign intelligence service general who now works for Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, one of the richest Romanians.

The paper reads that all retired generals from the internal or foreign secret services now work as consultants or businessmen. Plus, they all help each other as they are either associates in the same firms or they closely collaborate.

Last but not least, Gandul reads that Health minister's war against pharmaceutical companies starts to resemble a poker game. However, the main victims of this war are patients who are left without pills. Even so, hospitals in Romania rarely can declare they have all necessary pills because oftentimes, they lack the money to buy them.

However, Nicolaescu is ready to go through with his war and said that pharmaceutical companies are thus pressured to lower their prices and their influences as he shakes their market monopoly. 

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