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President Basescu plunges to lowest confidence score since he took office.
More and more Romanians have confidence in King Mihai, according to an opinion poll conducted by IMAS for the Adevarul newspaper on January 11-17. The former sovereign comes first, with a confidence score of 36.6 pc, followed by Liberal leader Crin Antonescu (25.4 pc), and by the head of Social-Democrats, Victor Ponta (22.5 pc). The fourth place is held by the president of the Greater Romania Party (PRM) Corneliu Vadim Tudor, which returns ‘en force’ in the first echelon of Romanian politicians. The journalists of the aforementioned newspaper consider that the recent wave of protests against the ruling power had as consequence an increase of confidence in King Mihai. According to the journalists, the former sovereign was at 25.7 pc last December (after his speech in Parliament when he turned 90), and the protests brought him more than 10 percent points in terms of confidence. In his turn, Victor Ponta registered an increase from last month, when he was at 19.60 pc in the same poll. On the other hand, Crin Antonescu dropped against December, when he had a score of 27.10 pc. The politicians of the ruling power can be found at the bottom of the list, with President Traian Basescu plunging at a bottom since he took office (8.6 pc). Meanwhile, only 7.3 pc of subjects answered that they have much and very much confidence in Premier Emil Boc. The authors of the poll explain that the head of state suffered a massive lost of popularity in the first part of 2011 and dropped to a minimum 8.8 pc in June, after he announced the cut of salaries and pensions. Later he stabilised around 9-10 pc, and slightly rose at 13 pc towards the end of 2011. According to the newspaper, the recent protests and his statements on Raed Arafat made him lose 5 percent points. PDL EuroDeputy Theodor Stolojan, a popular politician in the past, has sunk to 8.20 pc, deputy premier Marko Bela is at 4.20 pc, while the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Roberta Anastase – also first vice-president of PDL – has the lowest confidence score, of just 3.2 pc. In a better position is the speaker of the Senate, Vasile Blaga, which ranks 5th in the IMAS top of confidence, after Vadim Tudor. When it comes to political parties, the Social Liberal Union (USL) ranks first, with 53.40 pc of voting intentions in parliamentary elections, up from 49.20 pc in December. The major ruling party PDL suffered a spectacular plunge, from 21.50 pc at the end of last year to 15.80 pc now. According to Adevarul.ro, PDL hit the bottom of its popularity in July 2011, when it reached 14.50 pc. Third in electoral preferences comes the People’s Party, led by Dan Diaconescu, with 13.90 pc (against 11.80 pc in December), followed by PRM with 6.60 pc (6.40 pc in December), UDMR coming fifth with 5.80 pc (5.70 pc in December), PNG with 1.60 pc (down from 2.20 pc in December) and UNPR with 0.90 pc (also on the decrease against December, when it was at 1.80 pc).
Poorly faring ministers
Against the background of a drastic drop in confidence that affects ruling politicians, another newspaper – the ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ – polled analysts and readers about which ministers should leave. According to analysts, the first ministers to leave are those that had a poor communication with people, such as the ministers of Communication – Valerian Vreme, Economy – Ion Ariton, or Agriculture – Valeriu Tabara. Journalist Vlad Macovei also believes that the ministers of Finance – Gheorghe Ialomitianu, and Interior – Traian Igas are inches away from being revoked. Ion Cristoiu, too, believes that “invisible” ministers must leave, giving as example Valerian Vreme, as well as the UDMR ministers of Culture – Kelemen Hunor, and Health – Ladislau Ritli. Sociologist Mircea Kivu says that, although a Cabinet reshuffling would not ease the social pressure, there are poorly performing ministers, like Traian Igas, which must be replaced. Dan Pavel considers that the whole Cabinet must be reshuffled, an opinion shared by Vasile Dancu, who recommends “a fundamental, rather than cosmetic change.” The opinions of readers, expressed on the web site of the newspaper, echo those of analysts. At the bottom of a ministers’ performance list are Ion Ariton, Valerian Vreme, Traian Igas, Ialomitianu or Tabara. On the other hand, readers appreciate the activity of Elena Udrea as Minister of Tourism, Laszlo Borbely – the minister of Environment, and Ladislau Ritli.