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What the newspapers say: April 24, 2008 

de A.C.
Joi, 24 aprilie 2008, 7:12 English | Press Review

A major political scandal has hit the main opposition party in Romania, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), a month before local elections take place, one newspaper reads on Thursday. More in the news, EU officials plans to limit Romanians' right to enter Italy without a visa. Last but not least, local authorities in Brasov, central Romania reintroduced Dracula Express train, dating from the early 1990's and used exclusively by the Royal family.

Sorin Oprescu, a former member of the Social Democrats who left the party in order to run as an independent for Bucharest mayor in June 1 local elections, was forced to leave the race as he did not have the necessary number of valid signatures of support upon registration, Gandul reads.

The newspaper reads that the Electoral Office rejected Oprescu's candidacy since he lacked as few as 365 valid signatures of a total of 35,803. Oprescu declared that the Office rejected signatures that he thought were valid because of the provisions of the electoral law.

Oprescu said that some 20,000 signatures were deleted from the list since they were flawed. He said that he could be considered a political victim. He accused the "system" was against him and that there were too many interests and groups who all want to stop him.

Plus, Oprescu is determined to challenge the decision and his lawyer would attempt to prove that the rejected signatures of support were just as valid as the others. Oprescu summoned his supporters to meet him before the court to actively support him.

Oprescu had to leave the PSD and try to run as an independent as the party opted for another top member to run for Bucharest mayor in a majoor pre-electoral power struggle within the party. Oprescu had run for the seat before but without success.

Elsewhere in the news, Cotidianul reads about Italy's politicians who threaten Romanians with the reintroduction of visas. Future Foreign minister in the Berlusconi government, Franco Frattini declared that Italy should re-negotiate a European directive to limit the free movement of European citizens within the community.

In the same vein, National Alliance Party head, Gianfranco Fini said in a talk show that he did not exclude the possibility of pressing for the reintroduction of visas for Romanians. However, he said that talks would be initiated with EU officials. He admitted that the plan might be rejected but he added that nothing was impossible.

On a lighter tone, Romania Libera reads about the Dracula Express train rented free of charge by local authorities in Brasov, central Romania for the delight of passengers who travel on the route: Brasov - Rasnov - Zarnesti. The train is part of Romania's national patrimony and dates since the early 1990s.

In the next two months the Dracula Express ride is free and can accommodate some 85 passengers. 

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