Romanian PM fires FM for insults
BUDAPESTRomania’s prime minister fired his foreign minister Jan. 23 over insulting remarks he made about anti-government protesters, but the opposition have said the move will not appease widespread public anger.
Last week, as anti-government protests raged, Teodor Baconschi wrote on his blog that Romanians who work for a living will decide the country’s future, not those from “violent and clueless slums.” Prime Minister Emil Boc said in a speech to Parliament that Baconschi had been sacked after the comments caused outrage. Boc also apologized during an extraordinary two-day session called by opposition parties.
The Mediafax news agency reported Baconschi in Brussels for an EU meeting of foreign ministers as saying he was fired by text message. According to an Agence France-Press report on Jan. 23, Baconschi “took note” of the decision by Boc and would return to Bucharest yesterday.
He said the premier had called him in Brussels before making the news public. In Brussels, Baconschi said he did not regret his words but that they had been partly distorted.
Protesters took to the streets for an 11th day Jan. 23, briefly scuffling with police in the capital Bucharest as tempers flared. Authorities said 3,000 people protested in several Romanian cities. The opposition said the firing of Baconschi did not go far enough, with lawmakers calling for early elections.
Basescu, Parliament and the government are no longer wanted by the people, he said. Some Liberal lawmakers, who hold 93 seats in the 471-seat legislature, threatened to resign from Parliament. “Opinions must be free, but without violence that could point to domestic instability,” the Associated Press quoted Senate Speaker Vasile Blaga as saying.