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Check to King Michael
POLITICS - November 4th 2004Senators refused yesterday to accept the Government request to agree by emergency procedure with its decision to pay the former King Michael 30 million euros for the Peles Castle.
By OANA STANCU
[Emergency procedure means a draft law is not debated over with regard to its wording and content, and is accepted in the form drafted by the government.]
The 30 million euros was to compensate the former King for the real-estate properties on the Peles Estate and their furbishing. The Executive draft law also provided for the former King Michael to get back the House of Knights in-kind; the right to use the Elisabeth Palace, in Bucharest, for the duration of his life and that of his eldest daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Radu Duda; and the right to use for special events the Peles and Pelisor Castles, and the Foisor building which were to stay in state ownership.
The government proposal was rejected with 57 votes against it, 27 votes for it, and eight abstentions.
Among top figures in the SDP ruling party voting against the proposal were the Senate Speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu, and senators Antonie Iorgovan, Adrian Paunescu and Sergiu Nicolaescu.
The Greater Romania Party and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (DUHR) said from the onset that their senators will vote against the bill, while the representatives of the National Liberal Party and of the Democrat Party said will abstain.
The most eloquent argument against the bill was put forward by Gyorgy Frunda, of the DUHR, who reminded that the Romanian state has an awful lot of other compensations to pay to most Romanians. "Of the 18 million citizens with voting rights, some 70% are frustrated financially because their properties have not been given back to them in the past 40 years. This is an important amount of money, the 30 million euros the government wants to allocate to solving the issue with the former King. I am against adopting this draft law by emergency procedure, since all the other citizens of Romania hold equal rights to restitution of property," said Frunda.
Gheorghe Buzatu, Senate vice-president, member of the GRP and also well-known historian, said that the Government plan should be put on hold, since the issue of what the former King Michael owned as his own private property is yet to be established. Hence, Buzatu suggested that a special commission should be set up to examine the status of former royal properties and of "what should go to whom."
Translation: ANCA PADURARU