When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!

ADEVARUL, ZIARE.COM, BUCHAREST HERALD (Romania)

Worldcrunch

BUCHAREST - An escalating political crisis in Romania pitting the prime minister against the president is spreading abroad, with protests in foreign capitals and concern from European officials about the state of democracy in one of the EU's newest members.

Center-left Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Social Liberal Union (USL) have moved to oust center-right President Traian Basescu, which some critics have said amounts to a political coup. A group of Romanian intellectuals and members of the civil society addressed a letter on Monday to the governments of all the European member states, complaining about Ponta's recent actions, reported Bucharest daily Adevarul.

In addition to the dubious Parliamentary maneuver on Friday, and alleged manipulation of the media in the coverage of the crisis, the letter criticizes the Prime Minister for not resigning after he was accused recently of copying his PhD thesis.

As Mediafax press agency reports, Romanian PM Ponta will have a meeting with the President of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso, after several representatives of the Commission expressed their concern about the status of democracy in Romania. Markus Ferber, head of the German delegation in the European Parliament, said that he will initiate procedures for unprecedented sanctions against Romania because of threats to rule of law from the Parliamentary actions, reports the Bucharest Herald.

Romania, a country of 22 million inhabitants, has a significant diaspora that exceeds 10% of the total population, including many in the United States, though increasingly concentrated in Europe after its 2007 entry into the EU.

The vote of Romanians living abroad appears to be issue, after President Basescu managed to obtain a second term in 2009 thanks in part to Romanian ex-patriates.

Meanwhile, protests have been held on the streets of cities in France, Spain, Germany and Belgium. Ponta accused Romanians living in Germany and Belgium of organizing protests against his party and being manipulated by the President's supporters, reported Romania Libera.

According to the Romanian Constitution, until the referendum, the temporary chief executive is Crin Antonescu, president of the Senate, a member of Ponta's coalition. The website ziare.com reports that Antonescu suggested Romanians living abroad should pay a tax if they want to have the right to vote.

A protest by Romanians in Paris took place at Place du Trocadéro on Sunday:

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

China

How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest