Press review (Sept 25)

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Romania’s national dailies of Friday give main coverage to President Traian Basescu’s idea voiced on Thursday that a referendum be held at the same time with the presidential election on reducing Parliament to a one-chamber body;

Parliament rejects motion of censure tabled by the Opposition against the uniform pay law for which the Government assumed responsibility; trade unions announce protests over the adoption of the uniform pay law; Government deficit is projected to nearly 5.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010; first edition of the Iasi International Film Festival opens its gates today

Evenimentul zilei reports that President Basescu on Thursday announced that a referendum on turning the bicameral Parliament of Romania into a one-chamber body and cutting the number of MPs to a maximum 300, from a current 471 Senators and Deputies, will be held at the same time with the presidential election this November. His argument for this constitutional reform: cutting expenses and corruption, as, in his words, there will be less high-ranking politicians paddling their influence.

Jurnalul national quotes chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Crin Antonescu, the party’s presidential candidate, as arguing that Traian Basescu only has the courage to run in the election hiding behind a populist demarch by wishing for a Grand National Assembly, the legislative body of the late communist regime, also saying that no discussion about modifying the Constitution can overlap the presidential election.

Evenimentul zilei remarks that Basescu has turned his face to populism; Gandul notes that Basescu suggests that 171 MPs be laid off. Ziua remarks that there will be an election-cum referendum, while Cotidianul remarks that in one strike 171 MPs and 145 years of history could fall.
The papers report that the first motion of censure against the Boc Cabinet was rejected on Thursday without problems, with just 112 ayes to 137 nays.

Romania libera remarks that the final expected by everyone was preceded by a recital of attacks and ironies between the Opposition and the Government. The most vocal was PNL chief Crin Antonescu, who called Prime Minister Boc ‘an engine driver drunk on the euphoria of reform.’ The paper concludes that the Government is left standing.

Curentlul reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to a televised statement by chief of the IMF Office for Bulgaria and Romania Tonny Lybek, is displeased with the text of the uniform pay law, which it deems not transparent enough and hard to implement.

Lybek is further quoted as saying a third disbursement of the loan agreed upon by the IMF and the Romanian Government will depend on the amendment of the uniform pay law.

On the other hand, the paper points out, officials of the Romanian Finance Ministry argue that the uniform pay has been agreed upon also by the IMF and there is no reason why the third disbursement would not be approved.

The papers report that teachers could see their wages dwindle by up to 40 percent if the uniform pay law is promulgated quickly and 11 pay bonuses and benefits are cancelled on October 1. Leaders of the Federation of Free Teachers’ Unions are said to be bracing up for a strike on November 16 to hinder the presidential election.

Ziarul financiar reports that the new composition of the Administration Board of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) was shaped up on Thursday with the completion of three nominations by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), in toe ruling coalition.

The three nominees are Florin Georgescu for the office of first deputy governor; former chairman of Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR) Nicolae Danila and dean of the Bucharest School of Economics (ASE) Marin Dinu. The Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L), in the ruling coalition and the opposition PNL are still fighting for the offices, with the Liberals claiming two offices and PD-L three, including a deputy governor one.

The papers report that Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi on Thursday was denied renewal of tenure by the Prosecution Section of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), and President Basescu is now left to take a final decision on her reappointment.

Romania libera explains that according to the procedure in force, the appointment of the prosecutor general is performed by the President upon the recommendation of the justice minister and with the approval of the Supreme Council of Magistrates. The CSM opinion is consultative in nature.
Cotidianul quotes Kovesi as saying she is independent and does not care about who will win the presidential election.

Romania libera summarises saying Kovesi was not accepted by the CSM for a new term in office and the Presidnet will have the last word. Curentul also notes that the fate of Kovesi’s tenure is in the hands of President Basescu.

Ziarul financiar quotes Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea as saying the draft 2010 Budget will be built on a projected deficit of 5.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and total appropriations for public investment projects of 6-7 percent of the GDP.

Business Standard remarks that Romania’s largest company Petrom was also South-Easter Europe’s largest in 2008 in terms of revenues according to a Top 100 companies ranking drawn up by SEE News web portal and the Roland Berger consulting firm.

Evenimentul zilei reports that the first edition of the Iasi International Film Festival opens today with the screening of Cristian Mungiu’s ‘Recollections from the Golden Age -Part I.’ Mungiu will be attending the opening accompanied by members of the film cast, including Ion Sapdaru and Teodor Corban of Moldova.

Romania’s national women’s handball team on Thursday advanced to the semifinals of the World Cup in Aarhus, Denmark, after defeating Sweden, 41-24 (23-14) in the last Group A qualifier. The group ranking will be drawn up after the last game of the day, Russia v. Denmark, but irrespective of the outcome of it Romania will come in second in the group and advance to the semifinals.

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