PSD executive committee to meet on Monday, NGOs write open letter to President Iohannis
PSD – The executive committee of the Social Democratic Party, the main party in the governing coalition, will meet on Monday in Bucharest, high on the agenda being the nomination of a new minister of waters and forests, after on Wednesday the incumbent minister Doina Pană stepped down invoking medical reasons. According to party sources they might also tackle the organization of an extraordinary congress, the designation of the future candidate for next year’s presidential election as well as a possible restructuring of the government. The meeting is taking place against the backdrop of speculations regarding the souring relations between the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea and the PM Mihai Tudose.
Justice – Romanian NGOs called on President Klaus Iohannis, in an open letter, made public on Sunday, to mediate the current conflict between the state and the society. The 19 signatory civic groups claim that the political power is trying to undermine the anti-corruption fight, to endanger the prosecutors’ independence and to subordinate the judiciary. The NGOs want the president to call on the Venice Commission, which should clarify whether the modifications brought to the justice laws that Parliament adopted last December are compatible with the fundamental standards of the rule of law. The recent modifications wanted by the governing coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats were contested by part of civil society, by the rightwing opposition and by some magistrates. The protesters say that the laws, in their new form, violate the Constitution and are rather confusing. On the contrary, the power claims that the laws had not been revised in the past 13 years, thus giving rise to deviations related to the careers of magistrates and allowing abuses by prosecutors and judges.
Bucharest – The embassy of Palestine in Bucharest hails the declaration made by President Klaus Iohannis, which reiterates the stand of the Romanian state on the status of Jerusalem. According to a press release, ambassador Fuad Kokaly believes that, through its decision of not considering a legitimate option moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Romania once again proves respect for the law principles and the international law. The declaration follows Friday’s phone conversation between Klaus Iohannis and the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, when the Romanian president said that Jerusalem was a central topic of the Middle East peace negotiations and that its status should be established following a direct agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Romania also underlined the need for a correct and long-standing resolution of the conflict, by implementing the solution of the two states, Israel and Palestine, which should coexist in peace and security, as the only viable solution. Consequently, a possible decision on moving Romania’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may me made only based on the aforementioned conditions. During the phone conversation, President Iohannis reiterated that Romania continued to support the development, consolidation and diversification of relations with Israel, which have a strategic nature. The Israeli PM thanked Romania for having abstained from vote last month, when the UN General Assembly condemned the recognition of Jerusalem by the US as the capital of Israel.
Handball – Woman handball player Cristina Neagu, a member of Romania’s national team and of CSM Bucharest was chosen best player of 2017 following a survey made by the European Handball Federation and based on the vote of more than 40 thousand fans. Cristina Neagu is the winner with 52%, being followed by Hungarian player Anita Gorbicz with 38%. Norwegian Nora Mork got 4% of the votes, Iveta Luzumova of the Czech Republic got 3% and Katarina Bulatovic of Montenegro got only 1%. As part of the same survey, fans designated Croat Luka Cindric as best male handball player of 2017. Cristina Neagu, also voted best handballer of the world in 2016, has recently won, for the 5th consecutive time, the title of best Romanian handball player.
Saint John the Baptist – Romanian Orthodox and Greek Catholic believers on Sunday celebrated the feast of Saint John the Baptist, the last prophet of the Old Testament. He baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan and called his the Redeemer. As many as 2 million Romanians celebrated their name day on Sunday. Also on Sunday Orthodox old-rite believers belonging to the Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian communities celebrated Christmas, 13 days later than the day marked in the Gregorian calendar.
Berlin – The German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday launched a new round of talks with a view to forming a government coalition, which should put an end to a prolonged political deadlock. More than 3 months after the parliamentary elections, Germany does not have a new government yet. The talks, scheduled to last for 5 days, will be attended by representatives of the Christian Democratic Union, Mrs. Merkel’s party, of the Christian Social Party and of the Social Democratic Party. Commentators consider these talks as the last chance for the formation of a stable governing coalition. The right of center Christian Democratic Union and the left of center Social Democratic Party have governed together 8 out of the past 12 years. (news translated by Lacramioara Simion)