Government - The PM designate of Romania, Ludovic Orban, announced he would submit, on Monday, in Parliament the list of ministers and an updated governing program with a view to starting procedures for the investment of a new government. The announcement came after President Klaus Iohannis designated the Liberal leader to from a new cabinet. The decision was made after the first Orban government was dismissed on Wednesday through a no confidence motion initiated by the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, following the government’s decision to assume responsibility for a bill on returning to the election of mayors in two rounds of voting, only a few months ahead of the elections. The Romanian president also reiterated his opinion that holding early elections was the best option for Romania at the moment. The interim leader of the PSD Marcel Ciolacu said he was considering notifying the Constitutional Court over the re-designation of the outgoing PM Ludovic Orban as the new PM. To call early elections the Parliament should reject two proposals of PM designate.
USR – The political committee of the Save Romania Union party (USR) represented in the Romanian Parliament and the National Council of PLUS, led by the former PM and European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, are meeting today in separate meetings to decide on a merger. The USR deputy Ionut Mosteanu pointed out that the national bureaus proposed that a merger congress should take place in July, but the decision lies with the leaderships of the two parties. In another development, following internal elections, 91% of the USR members voted for their party to be positioned on the center-right side of the political spectrum. The referendum called at the initiative of the USR president Dan Barna unfolded for 7 days starting on February 1.
Flu – 23 Romanians have so far died of the flu since the beginning of the flu season. The latest flu victims are two women and three men aged between 26 and 67. They all suffered from other diseases and had not been allegedly vaccinated. On Thursday the Romanian healthcare authorities officially declared a flu epidemic. More than 16 thousand pupils from across Romania are affected by the partial or full suspension of classes due to the flu. Experts say that the upward trend of flu cases will be maintained in the coming weeks, since lots of Romanians have not got a flu shot.
Tennis - The matches pitting the Romanian and Russian teams in the playoff of the Fed Cup World Group continue Saturday in the northwestern Romanian town of Cluj Napoca. In the singles competition Ana Bogdan will play against Ekaterina Alexandrova and Elena Gabriela Ruse against Veronika Kudermetova while in the doubles the pair Irina Bara/Raluca Olaru will be up against Ana Blinkova/Ana Kalinskaia. On Friday evening, after the first day of competition, the two teams were on a par with the same number of points 1-1. The Romanian Elena Gabriela Ruse (166 WTA) was defeated in 2 sets by Ekaterina Alexandrova (28 WTA), and Ana Bogdan (90 WTA) won against the Russian Veronika Kudermetova (38 WTA) in 3 sets. The winning nations will advance to the inaugural Fed Cup Finals in Budapest scheduled for April 14 to 19.
Rugby – Romania’s national rugby team is playing today against Portugal, away from home, in the 2nd round of the Rugby Europe Championship, after having been defeated in the first round by Georgia. This is the 25th match between Romania and Portugal, with the Romanians winning 21 of the 24 matches played since 1967. In the 3rd round of the Rugby Europe Championship, Romania will take on Spain on February 22 in Botosani, northeastern Romania.(translation by L. Simion)