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What the newspapers say: May 22, 2008

de Radu Rizea
Joi, 22 mai 2008, 8:45 English | Press Review

While only 7.5% of Romanians afford to buy a home, several news indicate that one has to be a wise guy to pull it off properly in this country. For example, several hundreds people bought yachts and limousines through special credits, designed for people with disabilities. The credits have the interest paid by the Romanian state. Others manage to make a living printing more voting bulletins than necessary and hiding, let's say, the equivalent of 5% of the Bucharest voting populace, enough to turn the local elections result around. Well, as long as Romanians hold on to their sense of humor...

Homes became luxury items in Romania, after the price for a house or an apartment increased six times during the past seven years. Almost 25% of Romanians want to buy a home, but only 7.5% of them - meaning some 400,000 people, afford it, a study conducted by UniCredit Ţiriac Bank reveals, as quoted in Evenimentul zilei.

Of course, the study may have some flaws, depending on what data was used to put it up. Gandul explains, for example, that the National Statistics Institute has records for only 4,803,600 employees, 738,000 less than the number of contributors to the National Pensions Fund (contributors being, obviously, employed). The same Institute takes into account only 100,000 Romanians working abroad, when the number is, in fact, around 1,700,000. The figures also trouble the European institutions: according to the latest EC report on the labor force market, Romania ranks among the last countries in Europe as degree of employment, with only 57.9%.

No problem: fewer work, but more go to vote. The Bucharest Elections Office found 33,600 voting bulletins at the producer's site (the Official Gazette - Monitorul Oficial). The manager first said that the bulletins do not exist, then explained first that the district offices did not yet collect them, finally claimed that there were all flawed. The bulletins proved to exist and the district offices ensured authorities that they picked up both the bulletins and the 10% reserve. Cotidianul insinuates a plausible explanation, related to the fact that the manager at the Official Gazette is one of the Liberal Candidates in Bucharest.

Speaking of the Liberals and their Government: the laws led to the signing of 533 interest subsidize contracts between the Government and private persons. According to the laws referring to people with disabilities, the Government may help them in acquiring vehicles or in adapting a home to their needs, by paying up the interest, as long as the private persons pay their rates in time. Of course, the entire affair went far beyond expectations, the vehicles acquired being limousines and yachts, Romania Libera found out. The law allowing this is therefore about to change.

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