Presidential run-off in the Republic of Moldova/ The EU foreign ministers are analysing in Brussels the impact the results of the US presidential election might have on trans-Atlantic relations/ A wave of cold has taken Romania in its grip
REP. OF MOLDOVA – Pro-Russian Socialist Igor Dodon and pro-European reformer Maia Sandu face off in the presidential run-off in the Republic of Moldova, a former Soviet state, with a predominantly Romanian speaking population. About three million voters are called to the polls to elect their president through direct voting, for the first time in 16 years, time in which the head of state was appointed by Parliament. According to the media in Chishinau, although the president’s prerogatives are limited in the former Soviet republic to foreign policy and national security, Moldovans hope their future president will also be able to solve the social and economic problems the country is facing. Pundits say the ballot has a political stake, as well as geopolitical implications. Dodon wants Moldova to relinquish accession and free trade agreements with Brussels and join the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Union, whereas Sandu pleads for reforming the state and European integration. In the first round, Igor Dodon got 48% of the cast votes, whereas Maia Sandu got 39%. The turnout in the first round stood at some 49%, a record low in the history of the Republic of Moldova, since elections were held in that country.
FOREIGN POLICY – The EU foreign ministers are today meeting in Brussels for talks on the impact the results of the US presidential election might have on trans-Atlantic relations. The European leaders are concerned about the future of the relations with the US, after the US President elect, Donald Trump, has repeatedly said he places America on the first place. "It’s good for Europe to be pro-active and do not wait for President Trump’s reaction”, said Dutch foreign minister, Bert Koenders. The meeting in Brussels is held at the initiative of Germany and the Netherlands.
COMMEMORATION – French President Francois Hollande has today opened the ceremonies marking one year since the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015, unveiling a commemorative sign at Stade de France, in northern Paris, where the first of the 130 victims was killed by Jihadists, FP reports. The Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris reopened on Saturday, one year after the attacks claimed by the Islamic State organisation. On November 13, 2015 Paris was in shock after gunmen opened fire randomly in the streets and blew themselves up. The largest number of victims, 90, were registered at Bataclan, and the rest of victims died in cafes, on sidewalks and restaurant terraces in Paris.
PROTESTS – Protests which started in thousands of towns and cities across the US, at the news of Republican Donald Trump’s winning the presidential election, continued on Saturday, for the fourth consecutive day. Representatives of the protesters say they are aware of the fact that what they say and their taking to the streets do not reverse the result of the presidential ballot, but they want to draw attention on their discontent about the future White House leader. They want to raise public awareness of the main issues raised during Trump’s electoral campaign which included defamatory remarks on women, up to threats of building a wall between the US and Mexico to keep migrants away.
ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN – The electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 11, started in Romania on Friday. Some 6,500 people are running, on behalf of parties or as independent candidates, for the 466 seats in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. This election, the list system has been reinstated; the last time it was used was in the 2004 elections. The parties credited with chances of going past the required threshold to be represented in parliament are: PSD, PNL, USR, ALDE, UDMR and PMP.
BULGARIA – Bulgarian voters are called to the polls today to elect their president, in the presidential run-off. The vote might also entail the removal of Conservative PM, Boiko Borisov, in case of a victory by the Socialist candidate, Rumen Radev, considered to have close relations with Moscow, FP reports. Some 6.8 million voters will choose between Tsetska Tsacheva, the candidate of the conservative Gerb Party, in power, and pro-Russian general Rumen Radev, who had been the commander of the Bulgarian Air Forces until summer, when he accepted to become the Socialists’ presidential candidate. According to the latest polls, Radev is the frontrunner, especially after the big surprise of November 6, when he got 3 percentage points more than the candidate of the majority, criticised for a lack of charisma.
WEATHER – A wave of cold has taken most Romanian regions in its grip, except for the southeast where temperatures are close to normal for this time of the year. The sky is overcast and precipitations are reported across the whole territory. Rainwater exceeds 20-25 l/square meter in the west, south-west, centre, north and north-east, and even 50- 60 l/square meter in places. Snowfalls are reported in the mountains and in the north, where gusty wind is also reported. A code yellow alert against precipitations and gale-force wind is valid for almost the whole of Romania, as well as a code orange alert against blizzard valid for 14 counties in the centre and the north. Both codes are valid until Sunday evening. The highs of the day range between 0 and plus 10 degrees Celsius.
RUGBY – Romania’s national rugby team on Saturday defeated the US, 23-10, in a test match played in Bucharest. The winner grabbed the “Pershing Cup”. This is a trophy initiated in 2014 and offered ever since by the Romanian Rugby Federation to the winner of the confrontations between Romania and the US, in remembrance of the match played during the Military “Olympics” of 1919, the “Inter-Allied Games”, organised by the commander in chief of the US Expeditionary Force in Europe, General John Joseph Pershing, to mark the end of WWI. The next preparatory game of the Romanian national rugby team is scheduled for Saturday, when Romania meets Canada in Bucharest.
FILM – Romanian films "Sieranevada" by Cristi Puiu and "Baccalaureate" by Cristian Mungiu have reaped a lot of awards at the "Listapad", International Film Festival hosted by the Belarusian capital, Minsk, between November 4 and 11. They included: the film press award (Sieranevada), the “Yury Marukhin" memorial award for best cinematography (Barbu Balasoiu/ Sieranevada), the special jury award (Baccalaureate), the award for best actress in a supporting role (Lia Bugnar/ Baccalaureate) and the award for best actor in a leading role (Adrian Titieni/ Baccalaureate). (Translated by Diana Vijeu)