The presidential elections that brought a second mandate for President Traian Băsescu, the collapse of the ruling coalition in the autumn of 2009 and the political crisis it caused in times of severe economic breakdown, as well as the European Commission’s criticism over corruption and crime, are some of the key issues that outlined the past year for Romania.

After the parliamentary elections on November 30th 2008 the Social Democratic Party /SDP/ and the pro-presidential Democratic Liberal Party /DLP/ formed a cabinet that lasted less than a year. On October 1st the SDP resigned in solidarity with one of its members, who was dismissed from his ministerial post. What provoked the crisis was the Prime Minister Emil Boc’s decision to dismiss the interior minister Dan Nica from his duties due to allegations he made, that Mr. Boc’s Liberal Democrats were prepared to engage in fraud during the presidential elections. Announcing his party’s resignation, the SDP leader Mircea Geoană placed the blame for Romania’s general deteriorated state on President Băsescu. According to many analysts, the actual reason for the collapse of the ruling coalition was the strategic moves made before the presidential elections. After the SDP left the government, the political crisis deepened in view of the severe economic problems the authorities had to solve.

Romania accepted to fulfil very difficult economic conditions in order to receive a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission amounting to approximately EUR 20 billion to tackle the crisis, but the collapse of the government made this task harder to achieve.

With the news of the government collapse, the currency exchange rate of the Romanian leu nose dived and passed the “psychological barrier” of 4, 30 lei for one euro. The country’s general indicators after the nine months Boc’s cabinet governed the state also deteriorated: the unemployment rate increased from 4% to 7% and after three consecutive years of an 8% growth, prognoses appeared that in 2010 Romania’s economy will shrink with the same percent.

Meanwhile, President Traian Băsescu signed a decree for the dismissal of Dan Nica’s from his post and the appointment of Vasile Blaga /DLP/ for interior minister ad interim. The Social Democrats vowed against the choice of Blaga, claiming that he was performing one of the key parts in Băsescu’s campaign.

For a single year, three ministers from the SDP lost their posts consecutively.

Before the political battle in Romania intensified due to the upcoming presidential election campaign, on July 22 the European Commission (EC) published its fifth set of reports on Bulgaria and Romania’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, where it criticized both countries for their weak results in combating corruption among high-ranking officials. The EC decided not to introduce safeguard clauses and to continue monitoring the two countries in the field of justice and home affairs until 2010 when it is expected to publish its next set of reports. The report includes 16 recommendations for Romania and 21 for Bulgaria. Romanian analysts and media sources expressed the opinion that the state had suffered “mild” criticism from the EC for not meeting the requirements for reforms in its judicial system and even a particular progress in the field was noted.

Romanian Chamber of Deputies Speaker Roberta Anastase gave a positive evaluation of the report, saying it could be perceived as a sign of the EC’s confidence in the state and Emil Boc’s cabinet, considering the positive conclusions present in the document.

In October the EC published a report on EU funds absorption in the two countries. The document makes a technical evaluation of all operating EU programmes in Romania and Bulgaria from their accession to the bloc on January 1st 2007 until July 31st 2009. The report concludes that Romania surpasses Bulgaria in terms of better EU funds management, as it failed to absorb only EUR 169 million of the total EUR 3 billion earmarked for the state under preaccession programmes.

Meanwhile, the political and economic crisis in Romania deepened. The ruling DLP party was left with only a minority of seats in the parliament, and the SDP in opposition, along with the National Liberal Party (NLP) and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania /DAHR/ proposed a motion of no confidence that was passed by the parliament on October 13. The parallel presidential election campaign contributed to an even more frequent exchange of accusations between the ruling party and the opposition. Lucian Croitoru, former adviser to the governor of the National Bank of Romania, was President Băsescu’s first prime minister designate, but his candidature was opposed by the parliament. Băsescu’s second nominee – Liviu Negoiţă, was also rejected. Meanwhile, the opposition put forward the candidature of Klaus Iohannis, leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania ethnic party, as mayor of the city of Sibiu.

Amid mutual accusations between opposition and ruling party, the candidates exchanged a series of discrediting allegations and caused numerous scandals, for which the Romanian media can also be blamed to a great extend, as they often failed to give a timely impartial evaluation, but backed one of the candidates instead. The most notable scandal during the campaign regarded an article published in the Romanian Gardianul daily, claiming that the President Băsescu had hit a child during his previous presidential campaign in 2004. An alleged video footage of the event appeared who Băsescu proved manipulated later on.

The political turmoil caused the delay of the third tranche of the IMF loan to Romania. The IMF promised that negotiations will resume after the appointment of a new government.

The first round of the presidential elections was held on December 22nd, sending Băsescu /DLP/ and Mircea Geoană /SDP/ to a runoff vote. Băsescu won the second round on December 6 with approximately 60 000 more votes in his favour.

Simultaneously, a referendum was held on December 22 on the introduction of a unicameral parliament and the reduction of the number of deputies from 471 to a maximum of 300. Romanians voted “yes” to the reforms.

When a series of electoral fraud suspicions emerged after the second round of the presidential elections, the SDP requested a vote recount. The Constitutional Court declared the election result legitimate and thus Băsescu won a second five-year mandate.

In the end of December Romania finally obtained a full-fledged government, formed between DLP and DAHR. The former Prime Minister Emil Boc assumed the post again alongside many of the members of his previous cabinet.

The new government will have to overcome many challenges and difficulties that lie ahead of it in 2010. The first will be the adoption of Romania’s 2010 budget at an extraordinary sitting of parliament in the beginning of January and the resumption of negotiations with the IMF that will guarantee Romania’s faster recovery from the economic crisis.

Read the article on Focus Information Agency (Bulgaria)

Balkans 2009: Romania – political crisis and severe economic conditions

The presidential elections that brought a second mandate for President Traian Băsescu, the collapse of the ruling coalition in the autumn of 2009 and the political crisis it caused in times of severe economic breakdown, as well as the European Commission’s criticism over corruption and crime, are some of the key issues that outlined the past year for Romania.

After the parliamentary elections on November 30th 2008 the Social Democratic Party /SDP/ and the pro-presidential Democratic Liberal Party /DLP/ formed a cabinet that lasted less than a year. On October 1st the SDP resigned in solidarity with one of its members, who was dismissed from his ministerial post. What provoked the crisis was the Prime Minister Emil Boc’s decision to dismiss the interior minister Dan Nica from his duties due to allegations he made, that Mr. Boc’s Liberal Democrats were prepared to engage in fraud during the presidential elections. Announcing his party’s resignation, the SDP leader Mircea Geoană placed the blame for Romania’s general deteriorated state on President Băsescu. According to many analysts, the actual reason for the collapse of the ruling coalition was the strategic moves made before the presidential elections. After the SDP left the government, the political crisis deepened in view of the severe economic problems the authorities had to solve.

Romania accepted to fulfil very difficult economic conditions in order to receive a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission amounting to approximately EUR 20 billion to tackle the crisis, but the collapse of the government made this task harder to achieve.

With the news of the government collapse, the currency exchange rate of the Romanian leu nose dived and passed the “psychological barrier” of 4, 30 lei for one euro. The country’s general indicators after the nine months Boc’s cabinet governed the state also deteriorated: the unemployment rate increased from 4% to 7% and after three consecutive years of an 8% growth, prognoses appeared that in 2010 Romania’s economy will shrink with the same percent.

Meanwhile, President Traian Băsescu signed a decree for the dismissal of Dan Nica’s from his post and the appointment of Vasile Blaga /DLP/ for interior minister ad interim. The Social Democrats vowed against the choice of Blaga, claiming that he was performing one of the key parts in Băsescu’s campaign.

For a single year, three ministers from the SDP lost their posts consecutively.

Before the political battle in Romania intensified due to the upcoming presidential election campaign, on July 22 the European Commission (EC) published its fifth set of reports on Bulgaria and Romania’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, where it criticized both countries for their weak results in combating corruption among high-ranking officials. The EC decided not to introduce safeguard clauses and to continue monitoring the two countries in the field of justice and home affairs until 2010 when it is expected to publish its next set of reports. The report includes 16 recommendations for Romania and 21 for Bulgaria. Romanian analysts and media sources expressed the opinion that the state had suffered “mild” criticism from the EC for not meeting the requirements for reforms in its judicial system and even a particular progress in the field was noted.

Romanian Chamber of Deputies Speaker Roberta Anastase gave a positive evaluation of the report, saying it could be perceived as a sign of the EC’s confidence in the state and Emil Boc’s cabinet, considering the positive conclusions present in the document.

In October the EC published a report on EU funds absorption in the two countries. The document makes a technical evaluation of all operating EU programmes in Romania and Bulgaria from their accession to the bloc on January 1st 2007 until July 31st 2009. The report concludes that Romania surpasses Bulgaria in terms of better EU funds management, as it failed to absorb only EUR 169 million of the total EUR 3 billion earmarked for the state under preaccession programmes.

Meanwhile, the political and economic crisis in Romania deepened. The ruling DLP party was left with only a minority of seats in the parliament, and the SDP in opposition, along with the National Liberal Party (NLP) and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania /DAHR/ proposed a motion of no confidence that was passed by the parliament on October 13. The parallel presidential election campaign contributed to an even more frequent exchange of accusations between the ruling party and the opposition. Lucian Croitoru, former adviser to the governor of the National Bank of Romania, was President Băsescu’s first prime minister designate, but his candidature was opposed by the parliament. Băsescu’s second nominee – Liviu Negoiţă, was also rejected. Meanwhile, the opposition put forward the candidature of Klaus Iohannis, leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania ethnic party, as mayor of the city of Sibiu.

Amid mutual accusations between opposition and ruling party, the candidates exchanged a series of discrediting allegations and caused numerous scandals, for which the Romanian media can also be blamed to a great extend, as they often failed to give a timely impartial evaluation, but backed one of the candidates instead. The most notable scandal during the campaign regarded an article published in the Romanian Gardianul daily, claiming that the President Băsescu had hit a child during his previous presidential campaign in 2004. An alleged video footage of the event appeared who Băsescu proved manipulated later on.

The political turmoil caused the delay of the third tranche of the IMF loan to Romania. The IMF promised that negotiations will resume after the appointment of a new government.

The first round of the presidential elections was held on December 22nd, sending Băsescu /DLP/ and Mircea Geoană /SDP/ to a runoff vote. Băsescu won the second round on December 6 with approximately 60 000 more votes in his favour.

Simultaneously, a referendum was held on December 22 on the introduction of a unicameral parliament and the reduction of the number of deputies from 471 to a maximum of 300. Romanians voted “yes” to the reforms.

When a series of electoral fraud suspicions emerged after the second round of the presidential elections, the SDP requested a vote recount. The Constitutional Court declared the election result legitimate and thus Băsescu won a second five-year mandate.

In the end of December Romania finally obtained a full-fledged government, formed between DLP and DAHR. The former Prime Minister Emil Boc assumed the post again alongside many of the members of his previous cabinet.

The new government will have to overcome many challenges and difficulties that lie ahead of it in 2010. The first will be the adoption of Romania’s 2010 budget at an extraordinary sitting of parliament in the beginning of January and the resumption of negotiations with the IMF that will guarantee Romania’s faster recovery from the economic crisis.

Read the article on Focus Information Agency (Bulgaria)

Postat de pe data de 31 dec., 2009 in categoria România în lume. Poti urmari comentariile acestui articol prin RSS 2.0. Acest articol a fost vizualizat de 47 ori.

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