By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
The Romanian opposition is up in arms over what it calls a belated reaction from the Romanian authorities to the tragic road accident in Montenegro which killed 18 Romanians and injured other 29 and calls for the foreign minister’s resignation.
Vasile Blaga, the leader of the democrat-liberals, the main opposition party, accused Titus Corlatean, the head of the Romanian diplomacy, of “incompetence” and the institution he leads of “lack of procedures”.
“I couldn’t help noticing some proof of incompetence of the Romanian authorities and the fact that they reacted extremely late in this situation” Blaga said, pointing out the central government had a similar reaction to the hostage crisis in Algeria early this year when two Romanians lost their lives.
“In this situation, two hours after it happened, Mr Corlatean was sending press releases about his excellent football qualities and we also hear the prime-minister was informed after five hours, not by him (Corlatean), but by Raed Arafat, state secretary in the Ministry of Health, these are official statements” Blaga added, referring to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ cup, an internal sports competition held last weekend.
“Moreover, realizing the ridiculous situation it finds itself in, the Government is using this tragedy as an electoral element and, unfortunately, at the expense of Romanians. We are therefore asking for Titus Corlatean’s immediate resignation for incompetence and lack of procedures at the level of his ministry” Blaga concluded.
Other voice in the opposition joined Blaga’s call. “I never thought such a sample of cynicism on the part of the government is possible when Romanians are in mourning because the accident in Montenegro is one of rare proportions in our recent history” Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, former PM and the leader of the Civic Force, accused in an interview to the website CaleaEuropeana.ro
“Under these circumstances, when you are a prime-minister or minister of foreign affairs, not behaving up to the extent of this problem and not being decent is unimaginable to me. You cannot go out and play basketball when such a tragedy happens” he added, alluding to the fact the PM Victor Ponta was playing basketball around 7 PM on Sunday, about one hour after the accident occurred.
In return, Ponta asked the politicians not to politically speculate the tragedy in Montenegro and called Ungureanu a “political hyena”. He passed a decree yesterday instituting a national mourning day on Wednesday.
The Romanian army already sent two airplanes to bring back the dead and the wounded. Some put the authorities’ apparent late reaction down to the fact the Montenegrin police first announced the bus that plunged into the 40 meters deep precipice had Ukrainian registration numbers, a piece of information also disseminated by international news agencies.