News review of the day – December 16th

New Romanian Government expected to take oath early on Wednesday

A new goverment of Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta is expected to take oath at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in the capital Bucharest on Wednesday. Mr. Ponta made the annoucement after Romanian MPs approved the new formula on Monday with 377 votes in favour and 134 against. „I want 2016 to be the fifth consecutive year of economic growth, based on a social model that is not associated with suffering and austerity,” Ponta said in a speech to both houses of parliament. He also pledged to step up the fight against tax evasion and make better use of European Union funding. Prime Minister Ponta urged lawmakers to support ongoing projects in education, infrastructure and agriculture along with plans of decentralisation and regional development. The opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) announced that it would not support a government lacking credibility. However, the new Ponta Cabinet received a confidence vote from the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians (UDMR), Dan Diaconescu People’s Party (PPDD), the group representing the country’s ethnic minorities, and representatives of the newly created Liberal Reformist Party (PLR).

Romanian PM Victor Ponta giving up his Law PhD

„I am writing to inform you of my decision to give up my Law PhD awarded by the Bucharest University in 2003. It is a decision I was supposed to make long time ago when first public allegations appeared questioning the thesis I prepared as doctoral candidate. I stopped short of making the move because I thought I was acting in good faith in providing arguments against such allegations as I believed that my professional career and politics should not be mixed together”. The words belong to Prime Minister Victor Ponta who sent a letter on the issue to the Bucharest University chancellor (or rector). The letter was posted on Mr. Ponta’s Facebook account on Tuesday.

Military prosecutors expected to investigate recent SMURD helicopter crash

Military prosecutors are expected to open an enquiry into the case of a SMURD helicopter EC-135 who crashed into the Siutghiol Lake near the Romanian south-eastern port of Constantza on Monday. Divers were still trying to bring the plane wreck to shore on Tuesday. State Secretary Raed Arafat, founder of the SMURD emergency rescue service, went to the scene on Monday while Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea was expected to present Prime Minister Victor Ponta with a report on the issue. A doctor, a nurse, the pilot and his co-pilot died in the accident.

An outdoor exhibition on „December ’89. The Revolution 25 Years After” opening soon

An outdoor exhibition of photographs will open at Romania’s National Museum of History (MNIR) in the capital Bucharest on December 17. The exhibition is marking the 25th anniversary of the Romanian revolution in December 1989 when people poured onto the streets in protest against the Communist regime of dictator Nicolea Ceauşescu. The revolution started in the Romanian south-western town of Timişoara on December 16 1989, and soon spread throughout the country. The MNIR exhibition is open in partnership with Romanian Government and the 1989 Romanian Revolution Institute.

Alexandru Danga