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ADEVARUL, ZIARE.COM (Romania)

Worldcrunch

BUCHAREST - For the second time since his election in 2004, Romanian President Traian Băsescu survived an impeachment referendum on Sunday.

According to the latest numbers from the National electoral bureau, only 46% of the population voted in the poll. Romanian legislation demands 50% participation for a ballot to count.

An overwhelming 87% of the votes were in favor of the President's dismissal, Bucharest based daily Adevarul reports.
 A previous referendum in 2007 had 74% of the votes opposed to his dismissal, with a 44% voter turnout.

"A President Who Won Against His Own People" titled this morning the Romanian website Ziare.com. Just as Băsescu had asked them, the majority of Romanians boycotted the referendum vote on Sunday.

The effort to impeach the right-wing president was an initiative of center-left Prime Minister, Victor Ponta -- and viewed by many as a coup d'Etat.

It was highly criticized by the EU, who raised concerns over democracy in the country, accusing Ponta of undermining the rule of law. This comes at a bad time for Romania, as the IMF is planning to review its five billion euro aid deal this week. The review was put on hold until after the referendum.

Romanian President Traian Băsescu (Wikimedia Commons)

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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