Negotiations – President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday signed the decree summoning the new Parliament on Monday, December 21. According to the Constitution, the newly elected Parliament meets upon the President’s request 20 days at the most after the elections. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are considered legally set up after the validation of two thirds of the MP mandates and after the MPs being sworn in. In another development, the negotiations between the PNL, USR-PLUS, UDMR for the formation of a center-right government coalition were again suspended on Tuesday after a failed attempt to re-launch talks. The 3 parties continue to argue over the distribution of the positions of PM and speakers of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The Liberals support the former PM Ludovic Orban as Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies while the co-president of the USR-PLUS alliance Dan Barna proposed Catalin Drula for this position. Barna also suggested three positions of deputy prime minister for each party, suggestion that was criticized though by the PNL and UDMR. Against the backdrop of tensions, PSD threatens to boycott Monday’s meeting for the validation of the new Parliament, as they are discontented with the way in which the three aforementioned parties are trying to distribute the key positions in Parliament and the future government. The Social Democrats are convinced that the correct solution in the context of the pandemic would be a national union government which should include all political forces that entered Parliament. Professor Alexandru Rafila is the Social Democrats’ proposal for the position of PM while PNL support the current finance minister Florin Citu for that position. The representatives of AUR - the Alliance for Romanians Union say they will attend the meeting and that a possible boycott will be a gesture of political irresponsibility.
Consultations – The Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu is today having political consultations with his counterpart from Northern Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, who is paying an official visit to Bucharest. The talks focus on the stage of and the perspectives for consolidating bilateral cooperation in all domains of common interest including in the economic field. During the talks the two officials will also tackle Romania’s support for Northern Macedonia’s European agenda and for the EU’s enlargement policy, the security issue, the relations within NATO, cooperation at regional level as well as within international organizations. Minister Bogdan Aurescu will reiterate Romania’s availability to provide assistance to the Republic of Northern Macedonia in the context of preparations for opening accession negotiations with the EU, the Romanian Foreign Ministry shows.
Commemoration – The western Romanian city of Timisoara and the revolutionary associations there have today started manifestations to commemorate the 1989 anti-Communist revolution. Manifestations will take place until December 22 and will be restricted in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The festive meeting of the Local Council, to which the US Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman has been invited an an honorary guest, opens the series of manifestations devoted to the revolution heroes from Timisoara. Thursday will be a day of mourning in Timisoara, which back in 1989 became the first city free of Communism in Romania, after 45 years of Communist dictatorship. On Tuesday, the Hungarian Parliament started its session by paying homage to the 1989 people’s uprising in Timisoara which led to the fall of the Ceausescu regime. János Latorcai, the vice-president of the Hungarian Parliament, recalled that hundreds of Hungarians and Romanians tried to prevent the evacuation of the reformed pastor László Tőkés, and when their attempt failed, the extended people’s protest turned into a mass demonstration that led to the fall of the Communist regime. The revolt against Ceausescu broke out in Timisoara on December 16, 1989 and extended as of December 21 to Bucharest and other cities of Romania. More than 1,000 people died and around 3,000 were injured in the fighting that took place at the time in Romania, the only country in the Eastern Bloc where the change of regime occurred violently and the dictators were killed.
Covid-19 – More than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases and over 200 related deaths were reported on Tuesday in Romania, according to data provided by the Strategic Communication Group. There are more than 565 thousand cases of contamination and the death toll is nearing 13,700. 1,255 people are in ICUs. The National Defense Ministry will make available to the Public Health Directorates across Romania almost 600 military to support the general efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming period. They will work as call-center operators, PC operators to fill in data bases that are being made as part of the actions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and also will undertake contact tracing activities. The authorities have recommended Romanians to limit their travels during the winter holidays in order to contain the spread of the virus. The first vaccines against COVID-19 will arrive in Romania most probably between Christmas and the New Year. (tr. L. Simion)