GOVERNMENT - Prime Minister designate 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 swearing in the 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 take responsibility for a bill on returning to the two-round voting system for local elections, 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. Interim Social-Democrat leader Marcel Ciolacu announced his party is considering the possibility of notifying the Constitutional Court on Orban's appointment, who was just ousted as Prime Minister. To call early elections Parliament must reject two consecutive proposals of Prime Minister designate.
MERGER - The leadership of Save Romania Union, the 3rd largest party in the Romanian Parliament and of PLUS, led by the former Prime Minister and European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, met on Saturday in separate meetings to decide on a merger. The two parties will next agree on the conditions. Following internal elections called at the initiative of the Union president Dan Barna, 91% of the Union members voted for their party to be positioned on the center-right side of the political spectrum. Elected on common lists, Save Romania Union and PLUS MEPs are affiliated to the Renew Europe centrist group in the European Parliament.
TOURISTS - Over 12.8 million foreign tourists crossed Romania's borders in 2019, up by 9% compared to 2018, the National Statistics Institute reports. Nearly half of them originated from EU Member States, 90% of whom were from continental Europe. The largest share of foreign tourists was represented by tourists from neighboring Moldova. Compared to 2018, Romania reported a growing number of arrivals from Africa, America and Australia. Road transport was the most frequent choice by foreign tourists to reach Romania, although rail and naval transport have also gone up by 10% compared to the previous year.
FLU VIRUS - Sunday was the fourth day since a flu epidemic was called in Romania, experts saying the number of sick will increase over the coming weeks, as many people haven't taken the anti-flu shot. The death toll for this flu season has reached 23. Physicians recommend people to avoid overcrowded places, observe hygiene rules and carry out triage in collectivities, especially schooling units.
HANDBALL - Romanian vice-champions CSM Bucharest on Saturday defeated Vipers Kristiansand of Norway 25-23 away from home in Champions League's Group 1. CSM ranks 4th in the group tables, behind Metz of France, Team Esbjerg of Denmark and Rostov Don of Russia. The position allows CSM to qualify to the Champions League quarterfinals. Romanian champions SCM Ramnicu Valcea also on Saturday lost 20-29 to Gyori Audi ETO KC of Hungary. Gyori is top of the group tables, followed by Brest Bretagne Handball of France and Buducnost Podgorica of Montenegro.
FED CUP - Romania lost 2-3 to Russia at home in the Fed Cup and missed the chance to qualify to the final tournament in April. On Saturday, in the decisive doubles match, Jaqueline Cristian and Gabriela Ruse lost to Ana Blinkova and Ana Kalinskaya in straight sets, 3-6, 2-6. Simona Halep, Irina Begu and Monica Niculescu did not represent Romania, preferring to focus on WTA tournaments in order to secure qualification to the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year. Florin Segarceanu called up to the Fed Cup squad Ana Bogdan (90 WTA), Irina Bara (160 WTA), Elena Gabriela Ruse (166 WTA), Raluca Olaru (47 WTA doubles standings) and Jaqueline Cristian (197 WTA). Bara, Ruse and Cristian were on their first appearance on Romania's Fed Cup team.
(translated by V. Palcu)