Incumbent president Klaus Iohannis wins second term in Sunday’s elections in Romania./The Bucharest Tribunal is hearing the final arguments in the Colectiv trial, four years after the nightclub fire that killed dozens.
Elections. The incumbent president Klaus Iohannis, backed by the ruling
National Liberal Party, has won a runoff vote against the former Social
Democratic prime minister Viorica Dancila. After the counting of 99.67% of the
ballots cast on Sunday in Romania, Iohannis won 65.88% of the votes, while his
rival won 34.12%. Voter turnout was around 50% in Romania, 2% more than in the
first round. Abroad, where the voting process took place over the course of
three days, 944,000 voters cast their ballots, which is a record figure. The
biggest turnout was registered in Italy, the UK, Germany, Spain and the
Republic of Moldova.
Romania's economic growth rate is projected to slow down to 3.2% in 2020 and go
up to 3.7% in 2021 according to the latest estimates of the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development. Its report expects the trade deficit to
continue to grow because of weak foreign demand and lower low price
competitiveness. Investment growth is expected to remain at a moderate pace,
supported by a higher absorption of European funds. According to the OECD
report, the budget deficit is projected to grow over the next two years. The organisation's
experts say that in order to reduce budget deficit, the government should
reconsider the scope and timetable of pension reform. Otherwise, spending cuts
may be necessary in priority areas such as education, healthcare and
infrastructure. The pension reform is expected to increase budget spending by
2% of the GDP by 2021.
Trial. The Bucharest
Tribunal is today hearing the closing arguments in the Colectiv trial, four
years after a devastating fire at a Bucharest nightclub. On trial among others
are the mayor of the Bucharest sector in which the club was located, Cristian
Popescu, and the club's owners. The trial into the tragedy at Colectiv
nightclub began in April 2016. After two years of delays based on procedural
issues, the magistrate in charge of the case retired. The new judge sped up the
hearings, setting weekly court dates. 64 people were killed in the fire, one
committed suicide because of the trauma, and almost 200 suffered injuries.
Anniversary. Bucharest celebrates
today 100 years of parliamentary tradition in united Romania. In 1919,
precisely one year after the achievement of the Great Union, the first
Parliament of Greater Romania held its first session. The result of elections
held for the first time in a state that brought together almost all territories
that had been inhabited by a majority Romanian population, that first
parliament brought together an impressive host of prominent figures. The
Romanian Academy is holding a special event today to mark this anniversary.
European Commission. The European Parliament meets in plenary session in
Strasbourg. The main topic on its agenda is voting on the membership and
programme of the future European Commission. Ursula von der Leyen, who was
designated president of the Commission in July, is presenting her team and her
Commission's programme. MEPs will vote following a debate. If it wins a simple
majority of votes, the European Commission will begin work on the 1st
of December. The vote in the European Parliament brings to an end a long
process of careful examination of each commissioner proposed.
Pope visit. On a visit to Japan, pope Francis met emperor Naruhito, with
whom he talked about the environment. Earlier, the pope met the survivors of
the earthquake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan in March 2011, in which
18,500 people were killed and were followed by a nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
The pontiff voiced concern about the sources of energy of the future,
referencing a call by Japanese Catholic bishops for an end to nuclear energy.
Another goal of the pope's trip to Japan is to provide support for the Catholic
community in this country, where only 1% of the population identifies as Christian,
half of them Catholics. This is the first visit by a pope to Japan in the last
38 years and the second in history.