Some of them carry placards condemning Prime Minister Victor Ponta, while others slam his arch-rival, president Traian Basescu, who faces impeachment proceedings in the national parliament.
A third group would simply like to be rid of both.
On 6th July the country’s parliament voted to impeach president Traian Basecu. In a joint sitting of both houses of parliament 256 out of 432 MPs and senators voted in favour of removing Basescu from office 217 would have been sufficient to tell him to leave. For the vote to take effect the Romanian people have a final say. Within 30 days a referendum must be held. The most likely date for the referendum is 29th July.
Prime Minister Ponta’s coalition government took office only in May, fired the speakers of both houses of parliament and the ombudsman this week and threatened to sack judges of the Constitutional Court as well.
The German press agency DPA reported from Bucharest:
"During Basuscu’s eight years in office, he has repeatedly imposed his will on the formation of governments, paying little heed to the balance of political forces in parliament.No referendum on the form of state
"He has made full use of his constitutional power to propose a candidate for prime minister, forcing through coalitions between the PDL and smaller parties to head off the PSD and PNL, which enjoyed a small relative majority.
"Ponta came to power at the end of April, after PDL members deserted their party in droves to join the opposition, bringing down the government through a vote of no confidence.
"The “deserters” were seen to have abandoned their party due to a loss of popularity. The PDL had pushed through austerity measures imposed by the IMF and European Union, cutting civil service salaries by 25%, freezing pensions and increasing value-added tax by five points to 24%.
"As a result, the PDL saw its share of the vote sink to a low of 15% in local elections at the beginning of June, while the PSD and PNL took almost 50%.
"Ponta could have waited for parliamentary elections scheduled for the autumn, confident that this trend would hold and that his alliance would secure victory, observers have mused.
"His decision, instead, to attempt to topple Basescu by democratically dubious means is thought to have two reasons.
"Firstly, he may be fearful of the judiciary, which he considers to be controlled by Basescu. Ponta’s political mentor, Adrian Nastase, prime minister in 2000-2004, is in jail for his role in a political funding scandal.
"And secondly, Ponta could be out for vengeance, as he believes Basescu to be behind the plagiarism allegations that have tarnished him. Ponta is said to have copied 85 pages of his 400-page dissertation without having cited the sources as required."
Unfortunately the proposed referendum will not be on the form of state, but only of the office holder. Basescu is certainly one of the worst presidents in Europe, but Romania’s problems lie deeper. Only in January 2012 the Romanian media reported: Wave of sympathy for King Mihai.
“According to an IMAS poll published last week by ‘Adevarul’ daily, the level of confidence in King Mihai stood at 25.7 per cent in December, being higher than that of president Traian Basescu (12.9 per cent) and in Premier Emil Boc (9.7 per cent) taken together.”Traian Basescu is an old adversary of King Michael and certainly dislikes the King’s popularity. In October 2011, when the Romanian parliament celebrated the 90th birthday of King Michael, Traian Basescu boycotted the event, while most MPs cheered the monarch’s speech (according to International Business Times.)
The king addressed parliament in Bucharest for the first time in more than 60 years and he asked parliamentarians to upgrade democracy in the country and restore the dignity of the people.
Referring to the fall in 1989 of the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu, the king said: "The last 20 years have brought democracy, freedom and a beginning of prosperity. The time has come after 20 years to... break for good with the bad habits of the past" [such as] "demagogy, selfishness and attempts to cling to power. It is within our power to make this country prosperous and worthy of admiration".”
He added: "We cannot have a future without respecting the past. The royal crown is not a symbol of the past but a unique representation of our independence, sovereignty and unity.”
Before the festive event Basescu had launched a stinging attack on King Michael, accusing him of being responsible for the Holocaust in Romania, and calling him "a Russian lackey."
In an interview Basescu said as Michael was head of state during the pro-fascist regime of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu — prime minister from 1940 to 1944, during World War II — he should also be considered responsible for the death of some 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Gypsies.
In 1944, when Romania was allied with Germany, Michael staged a coup against Antonescu, and Romania switched sides to the Allies.
Basescu called Michael "a Russian lackey" in the interview, adding that his abdication — forced by Soviet-backed Communists on 30th December 1947 — was "an act of treason."
In November 1947, with the communists gaining a hold over Romania and the region King Michael surprised the government by returning to Bucharest after attending the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in London. A month later the Soviet-backed communist government told him if he did not sign his abdication, 1,000 Romanians would be executed. He abdicated on 30th December 1947 and began a life of exile in Britain and Switzerland. His Romanian citizenship was restored in 1997.
Basescu, who insulted King Michael, was himself a member of the notorious secret agency Securitate, but claimed “his links with the former Securitate were minimal”
And Queen Helena, The Queen Mother, was subsequently honored by the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel for rescuing Romanian Jews.
The crisis in Romania could signify the need for an overall change of the political structure in Romania. Famous actor Ion Caramitru believes that King Michael of Romania was the only personality capable of restoring morality in the country and speaks about the toxicity of “turncoat communists” and of the former secret police officers who got into business. In an interview with ‘Adevarul,’ published in a translation of in the Bucharest Herald) the manager of the Bucharest National Theatre says he did not abandon his attitude of social militant, though he stays away from politics today. Caramitru still believes in the political principles of Christian Democracy to restore the monarchy and increase the respect for religion.
“I am sad! For the last 20 years, King Michael I has been in the country… The monarchy could have become perfectly stable during all these years and we could have banished communism forever, by annulling the abdication of 1947, when the King was rudely forced to leave the country. The return to monarchy would have put an end to this fight over the first position in the state, for a president who has discretionary powers. This semi-absolute power could divert the state to other ends, while monarchy secures the first position in the states only in a symbolic manner… Monarchy was the only principle capable of restoring morality in the country. Without it, what did we do? We have the same communists, now turncoats, and the former secret police officers who got into business and obtained revolutionist’s certificates. The infamous people controlling us in the past are doing the same today. The country is dying and everything was stolen,” Ion Caramitru said.
Ion Caramitru: Ce-am facut fara monarhie? Tara e pe dric si e furata pana la Dumnezeu!