Politeía Digest

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Daily News – April, 7th

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Two more Liberals leaving party for PDL

A former secretary general in the Calin Popescu Tariceanu government, Gabriel Berca, announced his resignation from the National Liberal Party and his decision to join the ruling Democrat Liberals’ parliamentary group. He was joined by Deputy Mihai Banu, who was rumoured to want to leave for several months. Berca said he decided to join the PDL after several talks with two prominent Democrat Liberal members, Vasile Blaga and Gheorghe Flutur. Berca explained that his intention to leave was based on his conflicting relationship with PNL Bacau, in which he was a member. “I had a brief phone talk with (Liberal leader) Crin Antonescu and told him that regardless of my political career, I will respect him as a human being, but there is some sort of indifference to local structures. I asked Antonescu to have a talk with me and the head of PDL Bacau. I had a good collaboration with Bucharest colleagues,” Berca told Realitatea TV. The senator added that he might take over leadership of PDL Bacau. “The issue was brought up at a certain point and if it goes anywhere, it will be a real challenge for me. But this is not why I left PNL. My decision comes after several months of hard thinking,” Berca added. In turn, Banu’s decision came after several months of rumours that he might decide to join the ruling party. Source: Reatitatea TV

Indebtedness owed by companies undergoing liquidation up 7 pc in February

The sums companies undergoing liquidation owe to banks rose 7 per cent in February, to RON 458 M, against January, along with the debt amount, up RON 353 M, despite the number of such enterprises going slightly down, according to data released by the National Bank of Romania’s Bank Risk Department (CRB), Mediafax reports. The arrears owed by legal entities in liquidation process climbed from RON 330 M in January, to RON 353 M, while company number dropped from 448 to 431. Eighty percent of the amounts owed are amounts overdue. Debts owed by companies undergoing reorganization rose 12 per cent in February, from RON 201 M to RON 225 M, amid a slight increase in enterprise numbers, from 122 to 130. The sums owed by debtors matched RON 315 M, which brings arrears rate to 71 per cent.

Separately, February credit demand in Romania rose slightly, to a bit over 100,000 interviews with potential debtors, Money.ro quotes BNR as saying. Rising unemployment and business decline make customers remain cautious about potential loan-taking. Source: BNR

British PM Brown calls May 6 election

LONDON – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Tuesday confirmed May 6 as the date for a parliamentary election which could bring down the curtain on 13 years of rule by his centre-left Labour Party. Standing outside his Downing Street residence, with his cabinet arrayed behind him, Brown launched the month-long campaign for what is expected to be one of the most unpredictable elections in Britain for almost two decades.

It will come as no surprise to all of you and it’s probably the least kept secret of recent years that the Queen has kindly agreed to the dissolution of parliament and a general election will take place on May 6,” Brown said.

The opposition Conservatives lead Labour in opinion polls. But the election result is far from certain as public support for both main parties remains volatile and the opposition faces a big challenge in securing power. Polls point to a hung parliament in which no party has an overall majority because support for the Conservatives is less efficiently distributed across Britain’s 650 parliamentary constituencies. Opposition leader David Cameron, addressing party workers on the banks of the river Thames opposite parliament, called it the most important election for a generation. “You don’t have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown,” he said. With the exception of Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, no party has secured more than a five percent swing in the national vote at a general election since 1950.

The Conservatives require a swing of 6.9 percent to secure an outright win. An inconclusive election result is rare in Britain and is the nightmare scenario for financial markets, which want a clear outcome and the promise of firm action to tackle a budget deficit running at almost 12 percent of GDP. God help the Conservatives. Source: Reuters

Turkish police detain more military officers

ANKARA – Turkish police launched a major operation to detain up to 90 military officers in connection with an alleged 2003 coup plot, before being stopped by the chief prosecutor of Istanbul, Turkish media reported on Tuesday. The latest detentions of high ranking members of the once untouchable military add to tensions between a government whose roots lie in political Islam and a secular establishment led by the generals and senior judges. Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin told reporters on Tuesday he had replaced the two junior prosecutors who had ordered Monday’s burst of detentions across 14 provinces, but gave no details. His action illustrated the struggle going on between the senior judiciary and more junior prosecutors said to have sympathies with the ruling AK or Justice and Development Party. Accounts of how many officers were actually detained before Engin ordered a stop varied. Most newspapers said between 14 and 19 retired officers, including several generals were being held, but police were stopped from serving warrants on dozens more. NTV news channel reported that six people were brought to court on Tuesday, including former National Security Council General Secretary Sukru Sariisik. Both the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office and police declined to comment on the detentions, and the state-run Anatolian news agency gave no figure on the number being held. Source: Reuters

Update: Turkish Prosecutor Stops Latest Wave Of Army Arrests, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor has intervened to prevent Turkish police from detaining up to 90 more military officers in connection with an alleged 2003 military coup plot.   The probe into the alleged coup plan began in February when police arrested dozens of serving and retired officers, including former commanders of the navy and air force. Engin’s action today illustrates the tensions between Turkey’s secular-minded senior judiciary and more junior prosecutors said to have sympathies with the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party. Source: Radio Free Europe

Hungary Fidesz widens poll lead before Sunday vote

BUDAPEST – Hungarian centre-right opposition party Fidesz has widened its lead over the ruling Socialists before parliamentary elections on Sunday, a poll by Szonda Ipsos showed on Tuesday. The pollster said in the daily Nepszabadsag that 38 percent of all voters backed Fidesz in a survey conducted between March 27 and April 2. The Socialists maintained their support at 12 percent, while the far-right Jobbik party, whose popularity has surged in the past year, fell back to 8 percent from 10 percent in the previous poll.

The two-round elections will be held on April 11 and 25. Among decided voters Fidesz scored 62 percent, up sharply from 57 percent measured a month before, while the Socialists were rated at a steady 20 percent, and Jobbik slipped to 13 percent from 17 percent in early March. Green liberal LMP had 3 percent support. Turnout at the election could be sharply lower than in 2006, Szonda said, as only 53 percent of voters said they would definitely go to the polls, down from 61 percent measured in a similar survey four years ago. Turnout was 67.5 percent in 2006. Political analysts have said that a low turnout would favour Jobbik and possibly Fidesz, and would be unfavorable for the Socialists.

Initially an anti-communist liberal party, Fidesz is now centre-right, pro-church and pro-family. It wants to attract foreign investment but favours supporting domestic entrepreneurs and farmers, and wants to improve competitiveness via tax cuts.

Led by Viktor Orban, 46, who was prime minister from 1998 to 2002, Fidesz has said it would rewrite the 2010 budget to boost economic growth and enact policies to create a million jobs in 10 years. The party, seen as fiscally conservative during its last term in power, has said the 2010 budget deficit could be double the targeted 3.8 percent of GDP, set in Hungary’s IMF/EU deal. Source: Reuters

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Written by Theophyle

April 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

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