Tag Archives: bucharest

Romania’s Prime Minister Resigns. But on the streets the protests go on !

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced the resignation of his government Wednesday following huge protests in the wake of a nightclub fire that killed more than 30 people.

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city's main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romanians fill the Calea Victoriei, a main avenue of the Romanian capital, during a large protest in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. More than 10,000 marched down the city’s main boulevards and then massed outside the government offices Tuesday evening calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub, the venue of a deadly fire last week, was located.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

“I’m handing in my mandate, I’m resigning, and implicitly my government too” Ponta said in a statement. He said the government would stay on until a new one is in place. “I am obliged to take note of the legitimate grievances which exist in society” said Ponta.

Although former Prime Minister said: “I hope handing in my and my government’s mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters”, the protests continue in Romania’s capital and the main cities. People ask about the Parliament resign and early elections. Romania is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections in December 2016, but some are now predicting that they could be held as early as the spring, with an interim cabinet in place until then.

About 20,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on Tuesday evening in a spontaneous protest calling for the resignation of Ponta, the interior minister, Gabriel Oprea, and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub was located.

UPDATE:  As protests in Romania continue, despite the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, it has become clear that Cioloș will take over as prime minister until elections are held in December 2016, said Euroactiv.com.

”Having the former Commissioner in charge seems like a good idea. Not only will it be seen well in Brussels, but Cioloș is one of the rare public figures in Romania who is not perceived as corrupt. Indeed, Cioloș didn’t spend much time in public office in Romania. Before becoming Commissioner in 2009, he worked for the European Commission’s delegation to Romania, and before that, as a scholar on internships in France. His wife Valérie is French.”

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Ionel Nitu: “The electoral campaign attacks ad have been under the limit of decency”

Mr Ionel Nitu is a top Intelligence analyst, Executive Director of Intergraph Computer Services, the Romanian partner of the American corporation, Intergraph.  For over 16 years, Ionel Niţu worked at the Romanian Intelligence Service – SRI, where he held various middle and top management positions. He was for many years, the Head of the SRI Analysis Division.

Romanian-flag

– According to the opinion polls given to the press, it seems clearly that there will be two ballots and the candidates for the final round are also known. Mr Nitu, what chances might be to exist some surprises?

Ionel Nitu: – As I have said in an interview published in April 2014, the two finalists are called Victor Ponta and Klaus Johannis. I do mention that by that time, none of them were official candidates for the Presidency. There will be no surprises that will change this reality.

– How do you foresee that the vote options will be distributed in the second ballot?

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Ionel Nitu

I.N.: – Both candidates will have cca. 70% of the votes. None of the others will pass 10%. Some will not even get the votes from the ones that signed for their nomination (min. 200.000 votes, which means 2% if there will be 10 million voters).

But, there is a competition for reaching some psychological threshold in the first ballot: 40, 30, 10 and 5 %. I suppose are known the candidates names. If Victor Ponta gets more than 40%, and Klaus Johannis under 30% (even if the difference between the numbers are extremely low), the voters of the second candidate could be demobilized. If both will have results that begin with 3 (for example 31% and 39%), it will be, psychologically speaking, a greater hope for a possible victory for the one from the second place.

The others are fighting for their own electoral pool confirmation for the notoriety and, eventually, for negotiations between the ballots with the finalists. Only one has the hope of a future Prime-Minister position.

Regarding to the second ballot, there are many other hypothesizes. We don’t know if there will be more or less voters than in the first ballot. To be certain, not all the voters from the first ballot will come to the second one too.

Maybe for sure those that will come in the second one will come for the negative vote.

– What do you think that the main component are fundamental on the option of Romanians to choose a candidate or another: the person, the ideology that he/she claims, the party discipline, the electoral program (I just joking!)?

I.N.: – The vote at Romanians is more emotional, not rational. Moreover, this campaign – that unofficial began in 2012 – has been so complex and had so many turnovers, that it has been no place for debates on TV programs. In the first ballot, it will matter the mobility of the parties. In the second one it will also count the analysis, as a comparison, between the two finalists.

What main errors have you noticed in the campaign strategies, errors that you deem to have had a bad impact regarding to the ranking in voters preferences?

I.N.: – There have been plenty of them and I prefer not to talk about them. I would remark that some have not been used with efficiency by the competitors.

Mainly, there were errors diverted from the absence of coherent strategies, but also errors because of some conjunctures. Some conjunctures have been deliberately caused.

– Given that in the last month we assisted to a ”reality show” in which – between two exposures about endemic corruption of the political class and the examination/restraint of some well-known names from the political picture of Romania – were implied the same as commercials, some news/declarations/advertising from the electoral campaign, do you believe that a serious electoral program and a proper strategy could have permeated and persuaded the electorate?

I.N.: – As already I have said in other articles, in this campaign President Basescu and the force institutions of state will make the difference.

There is more to discuss about this justice revived at maximum speed in full electoral campaign, but what I can’t correctly estimate is the effect over the electorate. It will be or not motivated to go and vote? It will punish in a way or another the corrupt politician? It will determine a pro or contra behavior of electorate ?

Regarding to the political programs, the messages seem that have not came to the electorate. It has been rather used by the candidate’s campaign teams for the attacks. It was a mudslinging campaign. But this is not the big bad. Actually, these attacks ad from this campaign have been under the limit of decency.

RomPres1– You will vote for sure. I have also noticed that you are a fervent “activist” in combating absenteeism. I will not ask with whom you are going to vote. But in exchange, I will ask you for an advice. What should the ones that have not been persuaded by any of the candidates do? (I too am one of these 🙂 ) How could we manifest our civic sense?

I.N.: – Personally, I have not voted for a long time. But this time, I will go. I am going because I know with whom I’ll vote. Because I have identified among the candidates one that is my model as a President. I have identified the person that, by his behavior and thinking mode, resembles my expectations regarding to this high position in state. I advise my all close ones to go no matter whom they are choosing to vote. Go and vote if you see in one of the candidates the salvation of this country!  This country must be taken out from the morass of history.

If you are not identifying a model in none of these 14, at least go  and vote the ”minor evil”. Not least, go and vote so you can limit the likelihood of electoral fraud.

I think that the action of voting should be treated more seriously. Because it is about our future, our children’s future, the future of all of us for the next 5 or even 10 years. The vote is the purest manifestation of democracy ! The absenteeism could be considered a reprimand to the improper political class, but I do not see in this attitude a plus for democracy – yet poor-developed/strengthened – in Romania.

– Does the restoration of civic spirit of the Romanians represent the key of a future and mature reformation of the actual political class? Where do you believe that the rebuilding of social cohesion and of a normal report between the government and the political leaders of this country must begin?

I.N.: – The reformation and modernization of the state must begin with the reformation and modernization of the political class. The rebuilding of social cohesion must begin from the value system.

There are extremely important things to be discussed here. I can tell you that many of my ideas have found their place where it belongs. I won’t resume them here because I don’t want you to know with whom I will vote. I am neither a trainer nor a distorting reviewer.

I am just an analyst. I give advices and ideas to any who can take and implement them. Not the ideas are the ones that matter; after all we are all connected to the same thinking currents. The sobriety and the leader’s determinations to put them into practice is what matters in fact! It also matters their effect on medium and long term on the citizen, on the society. This is all. The rest are just stories.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

translation by Iolanda von Wunderstein

US wants to reassure Eastern European ally of NATO support

Vice President Joe Biden visits Romania and Cyprus

Joe Biden has arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday at what one senior official called a “complicated and challenging time in Europe” fostered by Russia’s “destabilizing” actions in Ukraine. Joe Biden said they all “must remain resolute in imposing greater costs on Russia and imposing those costs together”. “Europe’s borders should never again be changed at the point of a gun, which is why we continue to condemn — condemn — Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea” Mr. Biden said at an air base in the Romanian capital of Bucharest where he met American and Romanian forces involved in joint military exercises.

Joe Biden (center) speech in front of military of Air Base Otopeni. Romanian Minister of Defence, Mircea Dusha.

Joe Biden (center) speech in front of military of Air Base Otopeni. Romanian Minister of Defence, Mircea Dusha (right).

A lot of discussion focused lately on Article 5 of NATO treaty – the “all for one, and one for all” principle that provides for a collective response to an armed attack on any member. To be…or not to be sure to support of others ! The new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Alliance’s 2010 Lisbon summit, established collective defense as one of its three main tasks, underscoring the importance of developing contingency plans, organizing joint exercises and training, and creating “visible assurance” within member states.

Article 5 – the “all for one, and one for all” principle that provides for a collective response to an armed attack on any member
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/bogdan-klich-calls-for-the-alliance-to-develop-a-practical-plan-to-defend-europe-s-eastern-flank#KjRcSxaLhVY4jdMG.99

Since Crimea was annexed, NATO has put AWACS surveillance planes in the skies over Poland and Romania, dispatched warships to the Baltic and Black seas and sent U.S. Army troops to Poland, Romania and the Baltic states. Romania, a staunch U.S. ally, joined NATO in 2004 and the U.S. has a base in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Biden will meet President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Wednesday, when American vice-president will try to reassure Romania leaders that nobody should doubt Washington’s commitment to Article Five of the alliance’s charter, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

The confrontation between Russia and the West will also be a key issue in Cyprus where Biden will arrive on Wednesday.

The Cypriot government has warned of the devastating impact that any new sanctions directly targeting the Russian economy could have on its own fortunes, given that its finance industry is a key conduit of Russian investment and savings.

The senior US official noted that Cyprus, as a European Union member, was party to the bloc’s decision making and actions in imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. “We are aware and understanding of the exposure of Cyprus to Russian economic activity and Russia economy pressure” the official said.

In March, Biden visited Lithuania and Poland and traveled to Ukraine the following month. President Barack Obama also is expected to visit Poland in June for the 25th anniversary of the country’s first democratic elections.