Saturday 7 July 2012

Romanian president finally impeached

Romanians have difficulties to decide whom they most detest – their president, their prime minister, or simply the entire political caste (they are not alone in that!). Hundreds of demonstrators have been gathering in cities across the country.

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.

"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."
No referendum on the form of state
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!

Friday 6 July 2012

Australian Girl Guides drop God and The Queen

The Australian Monarchist League sent out this media release:


Girl Guides Australia is wrong if it thinks it will attract more members by removing any reference to The Queen and to God.

Loyalty and obedience, has always been a fundamental part of Guiding but this is also to be replaced with something like ‘choices for a better world’.

And all this to cater to those children – or more probably their parents – who have republican sympathies and/or who are irreligious.

However, it seems to be an oxymoron, that this misguided organisation removes mention of The Queen at a time of her great popularity and when polls are showing an increasing majority of Australians wanting to remain a constitutional monarchy. Moreover, they are retaining the name of the Guide's highest honour, ‘The Queen's Guide’ and also keeping as their Patron, the Governor-General, whom they seem to forget is The Queen’s representative!

Pandering to small minorities, however influential, has cost our Federal government almost total popularity. If the Girl Guides think they will achieve greater numbers by removing the very essence of what they are, then I feel they are sadly mistaken.

At one time parents would send their daughters to the Guides to encourage self discipline and leadership. Now it seems all they will get is a cringing towards political correctness.

Philip Benwell
National Chair
0419 417 097

Opinion polls on the internet shows, that the Girl Guides' move is not welcome:

Voting is open until next Monday, go here to click for the right answer.

The Australians for Constitutional Monarchy published a protest nore as well. See here.

Queen Sofía visits Cooperation projects in the Philippines

Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain has been visiting the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, which the Kingdom ceded to the USA in 1898 after the lost Spanish-American War. The new colonial masters stayed until 4th July 1946, when the Philippines attained its independence. The acting president of the republic is Benigno S. Aquino III [sic!].

The Spanish Queen arrived on 1st July and will leave the archipelago on 7th July. It is her third visit to the Philippines after 2002 and 2003. She has visited different development and relief project carried out by Spanish aid workers, local NGOs, religious institutions and UN agencies, especially the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) to whose Millennium Development Goals Spain has made great contributions.

Doña Sofía’s journey reflects Spain’s wish to accompany the Philippines in its sustainable development.

Cooperative relations between the Philippines and Spain date back to 1974. Over recent years, Spain has become one of the country’s largest donors. The official development assistance from Spain to the Philippines has averaged 30 million € per year between 2006 and 2010. The main Spanish cooperation programmes have targeted the areas of democratic governance, health, education, relief, climate change and support the peace process in Mindanao.

In this video clip Queen Sofia visits the University of Santo Tomas. The university was founded in 1611 by Spanish Dominican friars when the Philippines was a colony of Spain was just one of Sofia's many stops.

Viaje de Cooperación de Su Majestad la Reina a la República de Filipinas del 1 al 7 de julio de 2012. En esta tercera visita de Su Majestad a este país, tras las realizadas en 2002 y 2003, la Reina conoce sobre el terreno los diferentes proyectos que se están llevando a cabo y a las autoridades y contrapartes filipinas, los beneficiarios directos de las ayudas y los actores de la Cooperación Española, principalmente ONGs y comunidades religiosas, así como diversas agencias de Naciones Unidas, sobre todo del PNUD, que coordina los programas para la consecución de los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio, a los que España ha realizado grandes aportaciones. El viaje de Doña Sofía a este país, refleja la voluntad de España de seguir acompañando a Filipinas en su desarrollo sostenible y en sus políticas de inclusión social como país prioritario de cooperación.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Mystery solved

Flight 447, an Airbus A330, vanished from radar at high altitude during an Atlantic storm on1st June 2009. All 228 on board were killed. His Imperial and Royal Highness Dom Pedro Luiz de Orléans e Bragança, Prince of Brazil, was aboard Air France flight 447 and died at the age of 26. He was heir presumptive to the Brazilian Crown.

In its report, the French aviation safety authority, BEA, today said faulty sensors and inadequate pilot training caused Air France's Rio-to-Paris flight to crash into the Atlantic. Their final report caps a bitter row between Air France and Airbus.

Chief investigator Alain Bouillard said the two co-pilots - left at the controls while the captain rested - never understood that their plane was in a stall and "were in a situation of near total loss of control" in darkness during the final four minutes before the plane slammed into the ocean 1,500 kilometers off Brazil's coast. Only a well-experienced crew with a clear understanding of the situation would have stabilized the plane in those conditions, Bouillard said.

The report also found that the co-pilots had also lacked instruments to help them identify and manage unusual situations.

Although the final report gives the bereaved some consolation, the Brazilian Monarchists are still mourning a brilliant young man who could have become Brazil's Emperor.

Monday 2 July 2012

Death of a King

His Most Faithful Majesty King Manuel II of Portugal was only 42, when he died this Monday 80 years ago at Fulwell Park, Twickenham, London, his British exile home. He had left his Kingdom on 6th October 1910, after a military coup took place and a republic was proclaimed.

His death has been regarded as suspicious by some because of the fact that he had been playing tennis on 1st July and was apparently in excellent health. Wikipedia points to an incident surrounding his sudden death that was mentioned in the autobiography of Harold Brust, a member of Scotland Yard Special Branch in charge of protecting public figures. In his memoirs, Brust speaks of an incident which probably occurred in 1931 in which he mentions an intruder in the grounds of Fulwell Park who, when arrested, the Police confirmed as being a prominent member of Portuguese republican terrorist group known as the Carbonária and was subsequently deported to Lisbon.

The Portuguese government led by António Oliveira de Salazar, authorized his burial in Lisbon, after a state funeral. His body arrived in Lisbon on 2nd August 1932, on-board the British cruiser HMS Concord which had made the journey from England and sailed into the Tejo River to deliver the coffin of the former King. The body was received at Praça do Comércio, where a crowd of people had gathered to follow the coffin to São Vicente de Fora and the roads were inundated with people interested in seeing the funeral procession. His body was interned in the Royal Pantheon of the House of Bragança (Panteão Real da Casa de Bragança), located in the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Although his reign was short, he ascended the throne on 1st February 1908, the late King is not forgotten. In Twickenham a street was named after the King, another one after his Queen.

Today the Monarchist People’s Party (PPM) will remember King Manuel II with church services.

Since the marriage with Queen August Vítoria (née Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen 1890 – 1966) remained childless, King Manuel was the last male member of the Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha line. Therefore he and the head of the rival branch of the House of Bragança, Dom Duarte Nuno agreed that after the King’s death Dom Duarte would be the only legitimate heir to the Portuguese Crown. In 1946 King Manuel’s mother, the Dowager Queen Amelia became the godmother of the eldest son of the Dom Duarte, who is today’s Head of the Portuguese Royal Family and de jure King of Portugal, Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Bragança.

A charming tribute to Manuel II und Twickenham and Auguste Viktoria, Königin ohne Land was published in the blog Planet Portugal, which is highly recommended to everybody who is interested in Portugal (and speaks German).