By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST (BosNewsLife)– Voters in Romania were electing a new parliament Sunday, November 30, amid concerns the global economic crisis will bring layoffs and painful austerity measures to the former Communist nation. Opinion polls showed that voters were likely to punish Romania’s current pro-Western leaders who have been criticized as out of touch with Romanians.
Polling stations opened early for an election that was expected to alter Romania’s political landscape. Former Communists, now known as the Romanian Social Democrats, were expected to overtake the ruling center-right National Liberal Party of the pro-Western Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
Although Tariceanu led Romania into the European Union, there has been concern over his perceived inability to tackle social tensions in the country, including massive layoffs linked to the global financial crisis.
The country’s main car maker and food and steel factories dismissed some four thousand people last month alone, and many of their suppliers have said they will fire workers as well.
Speaking at an election rally ahead of Sunday’s vote, Social Democrats leader Mircea Geoana said his party would be the best choice to revive years of economic growth and more social benefits. His comments were translated by France 24 Television.
“The approaching crisis calls for a Socialist administration with its stability and professionalism. On the 30th of November we will win our greatest victory,” Geoana said.
However President Traian Basescu, an ally of the opposition Democrat Liberal Party, has the power to name the next prime minister, no matter who wins.
In the sixth election since Communism was ended by a bloody revolt in 1989, Romanians will for the first time choose among individual candidates for senators and deputies, rather than party lists, to fill the 452-member parliament.
As he cast his ballot, President Basescu said he hoped the new voting system would result in a better functioning Parliament for this nation of 22 million people. He said the new parliament should be filled with “those with experience who have already been in power.” He added that he also wants to see a new, young generation participating in politics who represent “courage and cleanness” in politics.
Some smaller parties were likely to play a role in future coalitions, including the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, which governed with the current prime minister. The party is backed by many voters of the country’s ethnic Hungarian minority of some 1.5 million people. It is expected to receive about five percent of the nationwide ballots cast. (BosNewsLife’s NEWS WATCH is a regular look at key news developments, including former (former) Communist nations, impacting the Church and/or compassionate professionals. Parts of this BosNewsLife News story also airs on its affiliate network Voice of America (VOA))mp3filegeneratevoaromania
The picture you posted on your article is not suggestive for Romania. Gypsies are less than 10% of the population in that country. However it is very suggestive from the Hungarian nationalists point of view who try to present Romania as a country of gypsies.
Your articles about Romania try to denigrate the country by all means. Your articles always overemphasize the Hungarian minority. No matter of what your articles of Romania are, the Hungarian minority is always present in them. You always try to present an unhappy Hungarian minority eager of territorial adjustments. You are part of the nationalistic and irredentist Hungarian propaganda.
Interesting that you say that. The Hungarian nationalists have actually condemned me for my reports. I quess I must do something right. I very much respect Roma, or Gypsies, and ethnic Hungarians. In this report the Hungarian party was only mentioned at the end of the story. So: “Your articles always overemphasize the Hungarian minority,” doesn’t seem to fit the reality. I don’t believe it’s against the Romanian interests to mention that they participate in the Romanian political landscape. For the record: I am not part of the “nationalistic and irredentist Hungarian propaganda…” Just a curious reporter.
Dear Mr. Bos,
You might be a curious reporter, but I am a curious reader, and following there are just some quotes from your past articles. Such affirmations are not in Romania’s interest at all. I let you guess in who’s interest they are. Also, such affirmations give to the outside world a false idea of a ongoing nationalistic conflict which doesn’t even exist.
“The elections are giving people the freedom to choose the political party they like, he (bishop Tokes) tells the Budapest-based television network Hir TV. He adds it is no surprise that Hungarians in Romania vote primarily for ethnic-Hungarian politicians. All ethnic Hungarians are living with their national feeling and a strong longing to their homeland, he says.”
“Most of them (Hungarians) live in the area of Transylvania, which belonged to Hungary before the 1920 Treaty of Trianon gave the region to Romania.”
(Romania Votes in First European Elections 25 November 2007)
“Slovakia and Romania, which have large ethnic-Hungarian minorities, fear that backing Kosovo’s bid could set an international precedent and boost separatist sentiments in their own countries and across Europe.”
(Future Kosovo PM Tells Serbs ‘Don’t Fear Independence’ 10 December 2007)
“Officials of ethnic Hungarians living in Serbia and even Romania have expressed concerns about the move, saying it could lead to revenge attacks against them by those opposing Kosovo’s independence.”
(Kosovo’s Independence Worries Ethnic Hungarians in the Balkans 27 March 2008)