World Romania's ruling centrists ahead in municipal vote
$3.2M worth of 'irreplaceable' books discovered buried in Romania after daring 2017 London heist
Scores of rare books have been recovered in Romania more than three years after criminals absconded with them during a brazen London warehouse caper. © Provided by Washington Examiner The books, which included works by Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei, were discovered by an international police force on Wednesday buried beneath a property in a rural part of Neamt, Romania, according to Sky News. The tomes were first stolen in January 2017 from a warehouse in Feltham, a town of more than 60,000 in west London.
By Radu-Sorin Marinas
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's ruling centrist Liberals emerged as the leading party in a municipal ballot on Sunday, including in the capital, exit polls showed, bolstering their chances of forming the next government after a Dec. 6 parliamentary election.
The ballot is a popularity test ahead of the national vote for the minority cabinet of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, which has been fighting the spread of the new coronavirus since its first day in office, and imposed a strict lockdown.
Impunity robs Romania trafficking victims of justice
"I want him to pay for everything I've suffered," says a short, frail 24-year-old Romanian who was forced into prostitution by a man who duped her. The man with whom she fell in love trafficked her in Romania and then to Austria before she managed to escape. "Once he hit me with a chair and almost killed me", another 31-year-old victim tells AFP, adding that the experience pushed her "to the brink of suicide". Both women are housed in a shelter for trafficking victims in northeastern Romania and are awaiting the start of proceedings against the men who passed them around.
"This is a historical victory for our party, the most spectacular result in our 30 post-communist years. I thank Romanians for defending democracy by showing up to cast their ballots during pandemics," Orban said in a victory speech.
The opposition Social Democrats (PSD), lost power last year and have seen their popular support halve since a 2016 ballot and protests over attempts to politicise the judiciary.
"It's the first time we defeat the Social Democrats, and it's so decisively," Orban said. "This creates premises for a Liberal-led government for the next four years."
Citing incomplete data, Orban said his party won about 1,500 mayors across the country or about 50% of all localities.
Exit polls showed that mathematician Nicusor Dan, backed by the Liberals and an alliance of opposition parties USR-Plus, won Bucharest city hall with 47% followed by incumbent PSD mayor Gabriela Firea with 39%.
Until Sunday's vote the PSD had 55% of Romania's mayors while Orban's Liberals controlled about 33% of localities.
Political pundits have said the ballot has mobilised younger voters fed up with graft in Romania, a nation of 20 million people that joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 2004 and the European Union in 2007.
Local elections matter in Romania, one of EU's poorest members, as municipal officials control a large chunk of budget revenues, and have access to EU development funds.
Spending that cash helps bolster public support for the party associated with mayors who manage it, analysts say.
(Editing by Barbara Lewis)
Romanian mayor Ion Aliman re-elected after death from coronavirus .
Romanian villagers have re-elected their mayor by a landslide even though he died two weeks ago from Covid-19 complications, saying he had done a good job and deserved his posthumous victory. © Inquam Photos/Bogdan Danescu/Reuters An obituary photo of former mayor Ion Aliman taped to the walls of the city hall in Deveselu, southern Romania, on Monday. A video shared on social media showed dozens of villagers visiting the grave of Ion Aliman, a Social Democrat, to light candles after voting had ended in Sunday's local elections.