The Week - September 21-25

the week - september 21-25

Local election of September 27

On Sunday, September 27, Romanians will hit the polls to vote in the first local election organized with the strict observance of health safety regulations. Candidates are vying for one of the 41 positions of presidents of county councils, 3,200 mayor seats, 1,300 county councilmen and 40,000 local councilmen positions. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mandates of local officials had been postponed by another six months. There will be a single round of elections, which means voter turnout will be key, analysts have argued. In previous years, the voter turnout average was 50%. This year, the percentage might be even lower, amidst fears of infection. Authorities say all the necessary measures are in place, allowing people to cast their votes safely.  The parties leading opinion polls are the Social-Democratic Party in opposition, which won most mandates in the previous local election, and the National Liberal Party in power.  The Save Romania Union - PLUS Alliance is gaining ground, its voters disgruntled with both aforementioned parties. This Sunday's election is seen as a test for the December 6 legislative election.


September has presented the authorities with numerous challenges: the start of a new school year, the reopening of theatres, cinemas and restaurants and people generally returning to work after the summer holidays. This week the authorities continued to raise public awareness as to the importance of strictly observing health safety measures. Wednesday saw a new record-high number of infections reported within the span of 24 hours: 1,767 against 25,000 tests. The national infection rate has gone up to 0.8%. However, this rate is higher in many counties and cities. Overall, the number of infections is close to 120,000. Some 95,000 patients have recovered and 4,600 people have died to the virus. According to official estimates, there are under 20,000 active cases presently at national level.


The head of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Giorgiana Hosu, stepped down on Thursday night after her husband, Dan Hosu, the former chief of the Department for combating the trafficking of migrants, was handed a suspended prison sentence of three years. He was charged with incitement to the illegal use of a computer system and the use of classified information. The Justice Ministry announced that the Superior Council of Magistracy has already taken notice of Mrs. Hosu's resignation. The Council had issued a negative opinion when interviewing Giorgiana Hosu for the position. Giorgiana Hosu said her stepping down is meant to safeguard the credibility of DIICOT from a situation unrelated to its activity. In other news, the head of the Romanian Gendarmerie, Bogdan Enescu, has been indicted by anti-corruption prosecutors in a case where he is accused of abuse of office.

Controversial measures

The political fight between the Liberal Government and the Social-Democrat-controlled Parliament continued this week in Bucharest. The Constitutional Court this week ruled in favor of a notification filed by Parliament, which means the Government will have to double child benefits, based on a piece of legislation the Social-Democrats passed in 2019. The measure was supposed to take effect in January. At the time the Government said the budget cannot sustain the measure, so it passed an emergency decree postponing its implementation. This summer the Government announced the increase of child benefits would be spaced-out in five stages until 2022. Despite the Court's decision, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said his decision still stands. Another bone of contention this week was the 40% increase in pensions, which was supposed to take effect on September 1. The Liberals have promised they would use all legal means at their disposal to block this law, as the economy cannot sustain this burdening measure. The Social-Democrats claim the money is there to help, and the increase in pensions will not deepen the budget deficit. Parliament therefore this week passed a budget adjustment law which is fundamentally different from what the Liberals had submitted, based on a 14% increase in pensions.

Halep wins Rome tournament

Simona Halep, world no. 2, this week won her first Internazionali BNL d'Italia title after defeating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, the defending champion in Rome, who withdrew due to medical problems in the second set. Halep had won the first set 6-nil. This is Simona's 22nd title of her career, with wins reported in Doha, Shenzhen, Dubai, Indian Wells, Madrid, Montreal, Wimbledon and Roland Garros. The win in Rome has prompted bookmakers to dub Halep favorite to win the Roland Garros Grand Slam this year. Matches in the main draw in Paris are due to start on September 27. Simona Halep is seeded first in the women's singles.

(Translated by V. Palcu)
Publicat: 2020-09-26 14:00:00
Vizualizari: 2103