Romania: Political conflict escalates
4 July 2012
Evenimentul zilei, România libera, Jurnalul Naţional
"Romania, wake up!" headlines Evenimentul Zilei, in the wake of the latest episode in the power struggle that has pitted Prime Minister Victor Ponta against President Traian Băsescu. The daily accuses the Social-Liberal Union (USL), the coalition between the National Liberal Party (PNL) and Social-Democratic Party (PSD) which supports Ponta, of “an unprecedented attack against the institutions of the state.” As an expression of its outrage, it also publishes a picture of the new President of the Senate, Crin Antonescu, sporting a photoshopped Hitler moustache. Antonescu was elected following the dismissal of Vasile Blaga, of the Democratic-Liberal PDL which is also Băsescu’s party. The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberta Anastase (PDL) was also unseated and replaced by Valeriu Zgonea (PSD). In a third decision, the parliament dismissed the country’s ombudsman whose role is to alert the constitutional court to anti-democratic initiatives, arguing that he was in league with the PDL.
The USL’s political offensive shows that its main goal is the suspension of President Băsescu, argues România liberă. In the event that parliament approves this measure, a referendum will have to be organised to officially dismiss the president. However, for the daily the USL has gone too far and is "embarked on a process that will result in political suicide" –
The leaders of the USL appear to be unaware of the fact that with their arrogant attempt to force the hand of democracy they run the risk of losing the trust of civil society and making Băsescu look like a victim.
For its part, Jurnalul Naţional, approves of the parliament’s initiative, which it hails as a solution "that will address urgent issues and enable the current government to take control of the country." In the wake of the controversial spat between Băsescu and Ponta over who should represent Romania at the European Council, "cohabitation with a political adversary who punches below the belt [Băsescu] is impossible".