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September 23, 2020
ARTS & LEISURE

NEWS IN BRIEF

Love Story author dies


Eric Segal, the American author of the top-selling romance Love Story, has died in London aged 72, a family friend told Reuters. The writer, born in New York, was buried at a Jewish cemetery in north London on Tuesday. He died of a heart attack on Sunday, local media reported. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for many years. Love Story, originally written as a screenplay when Segal was a classics professor at Yale University, became a best-seller around the world after its publication as a novel in 1970. It was turned a Oscar-winning film, starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. Segal, who also taught at Harvard and Princeton, was a screen writer on the Beatles’ 1968 film Yellow Submarine.


TS Eliot prize handed to Cornwall author


Writer Philip Gross has won the 2009 TS Eliot Poetry Prize for his collection The Water Table, it has been announced. The 57-year-old, who was born in Cornwall, will receive a £15,000 cash prize, the largest in British poetry. The Water Table was inspired by the Bristol Channel, drawing out connections with mystery, depth, and the man-made world. Simon Armitage, chair of the prize’s judging panel, praised Gross’s “great clarity and concentration”. Born in Cornwall in 1952, Gross has published numerous books, plays and poems and in 1982 won the National Poetry Competition. In 2004, he was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan. Other shortlisted authors this year included Sinead Morrissey and 1999 prize-winner Hugo Williams. The Prize was first awarded in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and its founder, TS Eliot, who died in 1965.


Top Asian films to star at Berlin Festival


Asian cinema will bookend the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, with Chinese drama “Apart Together” from Golden Bear winner Wang Quan’an (“Tuya’s Marriage”) opening the event with its world premiere Feb. 11 and “About Her Brother,” the latest from Japanese director, and Berlinale regular Yoji Yamada (“The Twilight Samurai”) closing the festival Feb. 20. “Apart Together” focuses on the reunion of two lovers who were separated when one, a solider, fled from Shanghai to Taiwan in 1949 to escape Mao Tse-tung’s troops. The film stars Lu Yan, Ling Feng, Xu Cai Gen and Mo Xiaoqi. The film will screen in competition, giving Wang Quan’an a chance for a second Golden Bear. “Apart Together” will also screen separately in Berlin’s Culinary Cinema section on Feb. 17.”About Her Brother,” screening out of competition, will mark Yamada’s seventh visit to Berlin. He was last here with the World War II period drama “Kabei: Our Mother,” which premiered in competition in 2008.


‘Sign and Shape’ at ICR


‘Sign and Shape’ – a sculpture exhibition by artist Aurel Contars – opened at the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) Wednesday night in the presence of the author and of art critic Aurelia Mocanu. Another art critic, Octavian Barbosa, was characterizing the sculptor as ‘an intuitive nature aspiring to a symbolic conceptualization of image’. ‘Content always prevails over shape without taking its place. The shape does not abandon its original figurative information in respect to image, on the contrary, it preserves it in all its beauty, often giving the impression, even the feeling of archeology brought back to life’, the critic was noting. To a fellow artist like Marian Gherasim, ‘Aurel Contars’ current sculpture is impregnated with the feeling of the sacred, asserted with discretion, unostentatiously, interiorised’, the reputed artist recognizing in that ‘a sign of plenary maturity of the artist, capable of saying a lot in a deep manner, by few and essential gestures’. The exhibition will continue until February 3.


Book on Romania to be launched in Rome


‘La Romania nella politica estera italiana. 1915-1965. Luci e ombre di un’amixizia storica/ ‘Romania in the Italian foreign policy. 1915-1965. Lights and shadows of a historic friendship’, by Giuliano Caroli, will be released at the Conference Hall of Accademia di Romania in Rome, Friday night. With this event, Acacdemia di Romania wants to mark the 130th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Romania and Italy. The Press Office of the institution indicates some of the themes that are addressed by the new volume: the liberal Italy and ‘Greater Romania’ (1919-1922), ‘Romania in Mussolini’s Balkan policy of the 1920s’, the treaty with General Averescu (1922-1928), the incompletion of the Italian-Romanian treaty between the Briand-Kellogg Pact and the Danubian Pact (1929-1935), crises and attempted rapprochements between Rome and Bucharest (1935-1936), the failed agreement between Rome and Bucharest (1936-1939), Italy and the end of ‘Greater Romania’ (from Antonescu’s visit to Rome to Hitler’s involvement in 1940-1942, Romanian and Italian attempts at exiting WWII and their respective integration into blocs (1942-1946), Italy and Romania during the Cold War (1947-1955) and the relaxation of political, economic and cultural relations between Bucharest and Rome in 1955-1965.


A month of flamenco


The public interested in the Spanish culture will have a flamenco festival in Bucharest, in February, bringing them films directed by Carlos Suara and cultural events organised by the Spanish Embassy to Romania. Spanish Ambassador Estanislao de Grandes Pascual held a press conference on Tuesday to present the principal events to be organized by his diplomatic mission to mark the Spanish EU rotating presidency. The flamenco festival organized in co-operation with the Cervantes Institute will last a month and will include various forms of flamenco – dance, songs, guitar and jazz.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Steaua loses its skipper


Sorin Ghionea will no longer play for Steaua, with the former skipper signing for FC Rostov, a team that is part of Russia’s first league. Rostov is coached by Oleg Protasov who coached Steaua several years ago, ‘Gazeta Sporturilor’ informs. After recently stating that he wants to sell the fullback, Gigi Becali finally managed to do it, with the Russians paying the EUR 100,000 clause needed in order to obtain the club’s green-light. ‘We reached the deal for EUR 100,000. All that is left now is for Rostov to reach an agreement with Ghionea,’ Valeriu Argaseala, the club’s manager, stated. FC Rostov finished 14th in the 16-team table last season, barely managing to avoid the relegation (the last two teams are relegated to the inferior league).


Aihan Omer remains
suspended for 5 years



The European Handball Federation’s Court of Arbitration has announced that it has maintained the decision taken by the Sports Arbitration Tribunal. According to that decision, Aihan Omer, the former head coach of Romania’s national handball team, was suspended for five years from all international competitions. ‘Mr. Aihan Omer’s appeal is rejected, while the decision taken by the EHF’s Arbitration Tribunal is maintained,’ the European Handball Federation’s website announced. Aihan Omer and Petre Paleu were suspended for five years in August 2009 after two referees claimed that the two Romanian officials tried to bribe them ahead of a game that the men’s national handball team played against Montenegro in the World Cup playoffs.

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SPORTS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Iordanescu, 66th
in world’s best head coaches table



Anghel Iordanescu, the former head coach of Romania’s national football team, is 66th in the world’s best head coaches table compiled by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS). Mircea Lucescu is 81st and Victor Piturca is 120th, closing the table. Anghel Iordanescu totaled 7 points, in a tie with Denmark’s Morten Olsen, Italy’s Roberto Mancini and Slovenia’s Srecko Katanec. It is surprising that Mircea Lucescu is only 81st with a total of 6 points, in a tie with Brazil’s Zico and Argentina’s Nery Pumpido. Victor Piturca is 120th with only one point, in a tie with Italy’s Cesare Maldini, Spain’s Javier Irureta and Argentina’s Alfio Basile. Sir Alex Ferguson tops the table, followed by Italy’s Marcello Lippi and France’s Arsene Wenger.


Tudela signs for Steaua


Having arrived at Steaua for trials several days ago, America’s Josh Tudela signed a three-year contract, club financier Gigi Becali stated. LA Galaxy’s player will win EUR 5,000 per month. Aged 26, Tudela started playing for Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 where he had David Beckham as a teammate during several games. ‘From what I understood Stoichita has a very good opinion about the American at first sight. We have already signed a three-year contract with him. He signed it, but I didn’t. He wins EUR 5,000 per month but I haven’t signed it yet,’ Gigi Becali stated for Mediafax.


Mourning in Romanian cycling world


The Romanian cycling world was shocked to find out that Gheorghe Lautaru, one of the best Romanian cyclist and winner of the most important track cycling trophy – the silver medal in Edmonton in 1983, passed away. A special character, chief commissioner of the Romanian Traffic Police, Gheorghe Lautaru died at the age of 49. A great sprinter, winner of stages within the Romanian Tour, the Peace Race and the Turkey Tour, he also stood out during at the Tour of Germany, at Giro delle Reggioni, the Tour of Bulgaria and other high-level competitions of amateur cycling. During his 20 years of sports activity he won over 40 national titles. Former member of Dinamo Bucharest’s golden team, Gheorghe Lautaru was awarded the international sports master title.


CAF 2010, Ghana
in quarterfinals



Ghana has qualified for the quarterfinals of the African Nations Cup 2010 after defeating Burkina Faso on Tuesday evening. Unable to use Essien after Chelsea’s player suffered an injury during Sunday’s training session, Ghana managed to win a lackluster game, score 1-0. Ghana is the second team to qualify out of Group B after the Ivory Coast did the same. Ghana will play against host-nation Angola on Saturday.

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Social

NEWS IN BRIEF

Galati organized group dismantled
by DIICOT



The Prosecutors with the Organised Crime and Terrorism Investigating Department (DIICOT) have arrested several Galati suspects, members of the Bua clan, on charges of recruiting unemployed people and misleading or making them take out bank loans using fake papers. According to Mediafax, the group was built around a family structure, its most important members being related. The members of the group are under investigation for organizing a criminal group, aggravated fraud, forgery of official documents, forgery of written documents under private signature and uttering. Investigators say that, beginning with March 2005, defendants Bulgaru Aurel, Bulgaru Maximilian, Feraru Gheorghe, Feraru Tonel, Dobrica Mihalache and other people organized a criminal group subsequently joined by defendants Feraru Paris and Ionita Nicusor, to commit fraud with aggravated consequences by making other people either mislead or help mislead bank workers during loan taking procedures, by assuming deceitful qualities and by using fake official documents and forged signed written documents.


First CSAT sitting this year


President Traian Basescu has called the first CSAT meeting of the year today at 1 PM, to discuss the national defence and security programme for 2010. According to a press release of the Presidential Administration, four items are on the agenda of the Council meeting: the forces and means of the Romanian Army participating in overseas missions in 2010, the concept for enhancing civilian crisis management capabilities, the National Intelligence Plan for 2010 and the work schedule of the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) this year.


Ecaterina has resisted 106 years
in Romania



Local media yesterday wrote about the oldest person in Romania: Ecaterina Gaman, aged 106, living in the Vintila Voda village, Buzau County. A mother of seven, the woman had just one “secret” that helped her get along during the troubled XX-th Century: “ No matter who comes in power, you must stay very low profile, if you want to survive!”

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

Anca Podoleanu, new executive manager of HR Club


HR Club, the association of human resource professionals from Romania, has a new executive manager. Anca Podoleanu comes after Carmen Cucul who was at the head of the Club for four years. Anca Podoleanu, aged 42, will have as main responsibility the strategic development of HR Club. “HR Club is in a process of sustainable development, both through the projects implemented under POSDRU (Operational Sectorial Programme of Human Resourvces Development), and its individual projects, and Anca is an undeniable asset in this context,” declared in a press release remitted to the editorial office Csaba Gergely, President HR Club. With an experience of over 11 years in the domain of human resources, Anca Podoleanu has at this moment her own company of management consultancy, Choice Management & Consulting.


Vodafone to provide RON 2.4 M
telephony services to ROMATSA



Vodafone Romania will provide mobile telephony services worth RON 2.4 M (VAT included) to the Romanian Administration of Air Traffic Services (ROMATSA), the duration of the contract being three years, according to Mediafax. The contract was assigned in December 2009. Apart from Vodafone Romania, one more bidder registered with the auction.ROMATSA, which is under the authority of Transport Ministry, was established in 1991 and operates in the domain or air traffic services provided to the civil aircrafts which fly over the air space of Romania.


PwC: Wealth tax baseless


The wealth tax is groundless given the high management costs associated with it, oversight and collection namely, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) experts say. According to Mihaela Mitroi, a PwC partner, many European states that levied such tax eliminated it because of the high costs involved, Mediafax reports. Further more, in Germany, the tax was declared unconstitutional, being reckoned as a form of expropriation. On the other hand, Mitroi says inheritance and donations taxes are likely to be levied in Romania as a means for countering tax dodging.


Operator-paid porting tariffs
may be cut back



The National Regulatory Authority for Communications (ANCOM) is set to lower from EUR 13 to EUR 7 for fixed telephony, and from EUR 11 to EUR 5, for its mobile counterpart respectively, the ceiling of tariffs on porting numbers charged to telephone operators, the Authority announced. ANCOM submitted to public consultations its decision to cut back tariffs, according to an ANCOM press release. What the Authority aims to do is to reduce maximum tariff rates from the current EUR 13 to EUR 7 on geographic, location independent and non-geographic ported numbers. The draft also proposes a EUR 5 ceiling being set, down from the current EUR 11, for each mobile phone non-geographical ported number.


EUR 20 M investment in new 5-star hotel in Bucharest


Marvel Group company, controlled by three natural persons, will begin in April the construction of a five-star plus hotel in Bucharest. The total value of the investment rises to EUR 20 M, the representatives of the company declared yesterday in a press conference, according to Mediafax. “It is an exclusivist hotel project, a five-star plus property to be located close to Athenee Palace Hilton hotel. The construction begins in April and will last for two years,” declared the project manager Edward Popescu. He added that 75 per cent of the amount will come from bank credits, and the balance from their own sources. The hotel, which will have a built surface of 12,000 sq m, will have 120 rooms, a restaurant, three conference halls, spa and fitness room.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

GM to close Belgian Opel plant this year


Belgian Opel workers learned the Antwerp plant will close this year, with the loss of 2,600 jobs, as U.S. car maker General Motors said it would make labour and capacity cuts at all its European sites. GM had warned for weeks that the Antwerp plant was in jeopardy as the company moved to chop around 8,300 jobs and cut capacity in Europe by a fifth. Company sources told Reuters on Wednesday that the factory was doomed. “We remain open until June 2010. Afterwards we will have to see what the possibilities might be,” said Jan Van Aggelpoel, for the ACV union. “Otherwise, it’s the end.” Opel said in a statement that it planned to close the plant “in the course of the year 2010”. Opel workers crowded into a room at the plant on Thursday morning to learn their fate. Those that emerged expressed a mixture of fury and despair.


Energy sector to lay off 2,650 people in 2010


A total number of 2,650 employees of CNH, SNLO, Termoelectrica and the Energy Complexes Turceni and Rovinari – companies controlled by the Ministry of the Economy, Commerce and Business Environment (MECMA) will be made redundant in 2010, in order to increase efficiency in these companies, Mediafax reports. The Government Decision on these layoffs aims at reorganizing the activity of economic operators and achieving a competitive price of coal, which will implicitly result in a competitive price of electricity and thermal energy. As provided by the annex to the draft regulation, the National Pitcoal Company (CNH) will lay off 1,600 people, the National Lignite Company Oltenia (SNLO) will operate 300 redundancies, Termoelectrica and its subsidiaries – 300, the Turceni Energy Complex – 250, and the Rovinari Energy Complex – 200. Compensatory salaries for the employees to be made redundant this year will take RON 43 M from the state budget and the budget of unemployment insurances, to be followed by RON 41.6 M in 2011.


Companies – scheduled debts to state, with protective clauses


The state will introduce a system of scheduled payment of the overdue tax obligations of the companies, in order to support the investors in period of crisis, but with protective clauses that would guarantee the full payment of the debts, ministerial sources declared, Mediafax informs. The new system will be introduced until the end of May, through a project of normative act of the Finance Ministry and National Tax Administration Agency, which will regulate several fiscal measures in view of backing the business circles. The draft law regarding the scheduling of the debts has already been entered on the list of normative acts that the Finance Ministry will submit to the Government.

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BUSINESS

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OMV hopes to inject equity
into Petrom this year



Austrian energy group OMV hopes to inject equity into Romanian unit Petrom this year and sees good prospects for the unit in 2010, OMV’s chief executive said on Wednesday. “We would be committed to inject equity into the company at any point in time, we hope that this will be possible in 2010,” Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer told journalists in a panel discussion. “We regard Romania as a highly attractive investment area, we will continue to invest in this area”, he added. Ruttenstorfer said it was unlikely OMV would meet its 2010 group production target of 350,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, echoing comments from OMV’s exploration and production chief in November. “Romania is not to blame,” Ruttenstorfer said, adding the overall target was simply too optimistic at the time.


Centerra to open new EUR 110 M
shopping centre in Brasov



Real estate developer Centerra will open the Coresi Shopping City in the place of the Tractorul plant in Brasov by 2012, with an approximate investment of EUR 110 M, Centerra managing partner Silviu Savin stated yesterday. With an area of 85,000 sq m, the Coresi Shopping City will be opened in two phases. The Auchan retailer will also open a 16,000 sq m hypermarket inside the shopping centre, in which it will invest EUR 20 M. ‘Brasov will become hope to the largest hypermarket in the area, with more then 10,500 sq m retail area, with a range of over 50,000 items, providing 400 jobs’ said Auchan Romania General Manager Patrick Espasa.


Rasdaq-listed stocks can be traded on Deal market as well


All stocks that are currently listed on the Rasdaq exchange of the Bucharest Stock exchange (BVB) can now be traded on the Deal market as well, where the parties negotiate directly, according to a decision of the National Securities Commission (CNVM). Deal trading of all listed shares can now take place on the Rasdaq market, even if many of them have no price variation limit or do not have an established reference quotation, Mediafax reports. Rasdaq issuers who, under the applicable regulations, have a price margin of +/- 25 per cent on the main market will still be subject to limitations on the Deal market. The Deal markets will be available to the rest of the issuers without price limitation in respect of the reference price.


Romania, one before last in CEE as banking access


With 54 per cent penetration, Romania is the one before last country in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in terms of people’s access to the banking system, only followed by Bulgaria, according to a survey including 13 Central and East-European countries published by the GfK market research institute yesterday. The survey finds that four in five EU member state citizens in Central Europe have access to the banking system, and that the share drops to 50 per cent in South-Eastern Europe. In CEE countries, savings products rank second among financial services after bank accounts, the reason behind saving not being very different from country to country, not even from mature to emergent economies. Despite such trends, in Romania the second place is currently held by loans.


Adrian Sarbu sold Mediafax Cehia
for 1 Euro



Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the American group which controls in Romania the channels from Pro network, reached an agreement in order to take over the news agency Mediafax Cehia, held by Adrian Sarbu, for the symbolic amount of EUR 1, according to the daily Romania Libera. The acquisition will increase the information support of TV Nova channel, owned by CME in the Czech Republic, declared the vice president of the channel, Romana Tomasova, for CME Group, controlled by the American businessman Ronald Lauder, who owns several TV channels in Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. In July, the group signed an agreement with Adrian Sarbu, promoted executive manager of CME, for the acquisition of MediaPro Entertainment, in a transaction estimated by the American bank Merrill Lynch at USD 97.6 M.

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BUSINESS

NEWS IN BRIEF

FDI down 50 pc in 2009


The foreign direct investment (FDI) in Romania fell by 54.4 per cent to USD 6.1 bn in 2009 compared to the previous year, the loss being almost the double of the 29.2 per cent registered in the entire European Union, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) data, quoted by Mediafax. Romania managed to attract USD 13.3 bn FDI in 2008. According to data included by UNCTAD to its quarterly publication ‘Global Investment Trends Monitor’, no cross-border mergers & acquisitions took place in Romania last year, as opposed to 2008, when USD 1 bn worth of such deals had been closed. FDI dropped in the EU by 29.2 per cent to USD 356.7 bn, and the value of mergers and acquisition shrank by 56.4 per cent to USD 109.6 bn. Some of the developed EU countries where FDI fell considerably in 2009 are Great Britain – 92.7 per cent down to USD 7 bn, France – 35.5 per cent down to USD 65 bn, Spain – 60.6 per cent down to USD 25.8 bn. FDI in Europe lost 27.9 per cent, descending to USD 373.5 bn, and mergers & acquisition 53.5 per cent, down to USD 127.1 bn.


Unicredit: East-Europeans prefer
to spend less and save more



Spending less and a lower indebtedness mean a more marked tendency to save. In spite of the disappointing performances of the revenues, the net savings of the population improved in 2009, against the very low values from 2008, and thanks to positive incentives coming from the evolution of the capital market and the bigger gains in the economy, according to a survey published by Unicredit, “The welfare and the indebtedness of the population in Central and East Europe,” presented in Vienna, Mediafax informs. The financial assets of the population are estimated to have relaunched at regional level, having a value 12 per cent bigger than last year (from -5.5 per cent in 2008) and reaching the level of 44 per cent of GDP (2008: 33 per cent). These estimates are based on the attractive gains generated by the bank deposits and the good performance of the local bond markets. The quick relaunching of the stock exchanges also helped to the increase of the value of the assets held by the population in ECE. Turkey and Hungary, together with Romania and the Czech Republic, registered the most important revivals, although the remaining financial markets from Central and East Europe also registered solid performances.

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POLITICS

NEWS IN BRIEF

New MAE
appointments



Lucian Rosenfeld will be the new Foreign Ministry spokesman. He is a professional diplomat, having filled various positions both at the ministry headquarters and with its various diplomatic missions.


According to Mediafax, Lucian Rosenfeld has so far been the head of cabinet of the interim FM Catalin Predoiu. Rosenfeld is 31 years old. He was in charge of communication at the NATO Summit organization department and has served at the Romanian Embassy to Washington.


The position as MAE spokesperson was vacated at the end of December. Before that, the office had been occupied by Alin Serbanescu, formerly public radio reporter covering PSD. Alin Serbanescu has been seconded to the Romanian Embassy to China. Anton Niculescu has been appointed as Secretary of State for inter-institutional relations at MAE. Niculescu was a secretary of state at the same ministry between 2005 and 2009. Anton Niculescu was born on May 6, 1964, in Targu Mures. He holds an MA in international relations and a degree in management and industrial chemistry. In 2005, he graduated the National Defence College.

UDMR takes over Financial Guard and Romanian Waters, asks for TAROM


The PD-L and UDMR delegations met Monday night to share the various regies and government agencies – always a very important stake for all parties that have been to power over time. Sources participating in the negotiations told ‘Gandul ‘daily that UDMR had been given the choice between the ‘Henri Coanda’ and the ‘Baneasa’ Airports, and that they had preferred the former. Other sources quoted by Mediafax stated yesterday that UDMR renounces at the airport but asks for TAROM management.UDMR was allocated no important gas, energy or transport agency, or the leadership of the Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture (APIA) they had requested at the first round of negotiations. The distribution of state agencies is not final, the two parties’ presidents – Emil Boc and Marko Bela being still to meet one more time. UDMR ahs obtained after the recent negotiation the leadership of the following agencies: the Financial Guard, the Environment Guard, the ‘Romanian Water’s National Administration and the Office for Minorities. The Financial Guard is currently headed by Sorin Florea. He was appointed as chief commissioner in April 2009, after being deputy chief commissioner of the same institution. The current head of the National Environment Guard is Silvian Ionescu. The ‘Romanian Waters’ National Administration is currently headed by Neculai Olaru.

PDL might postpone congress until autumn


The PDL National Convention that elects a new party president will take place in the latter half of the year, most likely in September, with a majority of the leaders recognizing the need for time to work on the planned Statute changes. PDL leadership sources told Mediafax on Wednesday that, at the National Standing Bureau meeting held on Tuesday, PDL President Emil Boc had admitted there was not enough time to amend the party Statutes by March-April when internal elections should have taken place, as long as the membership of the Convention organisation commission will probably be the only thing that can be achieved by the end of January.

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