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Europe

President Basescu sworn in for second term

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-21

President Traian Basescu was sworn in for a second term in office Monday, on the heels of celebrations marking 20 years since Romania's anti-communist revolution. Basescu promised to push through reforms to modernise the country.

AFP - Romania's re-elected President Traian Basescu on Monday was sworn into office for a second term, promising to carry through reforms aimed at "modernising" the Balkan country.

"My aim will be to modernise Romania," Basescu, 58, a former sea captain, told lawmakers.

"This means turning formal membership in the European Union into an everyday reality for all Romanians, consolidating the rule of law by reforming the judiciary and more efficiently spending public funds," he added.

"Should we miss this opportunity, future generations will be condemned to pay a heavy price."

Basescu stressed that an overwhelming majority of Romanians had voted for reducing the number of lawmakers from 471 to 300, in a single-house parliament, in a referendum organised on November 22, the same day as the first round of the presidential election.

He also called for reforming the education and the health-care systems and for

modernising the rural areas, where 40 percent of the population lives.

"We need a new contract between the state and the citizens, meant to restore confidence in public institutions," Basescu said.

As Romania is marking 20 years since the anti-communist revolt of December 1989, he paid homage to roughly "a thousand Romanians who gave their lives for freedom" during those events.

"Their sacrifice is the foundation stone of today's democratic institutions," he said, regretting that "all the truth has not been said and the culprits have not been punished."

A total of 1,104 Romanians were killed during the events: 162 before dictator Nicolae Ceausescu fled from power on December 22, 1989, and another 942 after that date.

During the inauguration ceremony, patriarch Daniel celebrated a brief religious service and recited the Our Father, a tradition in this overwhelmingly Orthodox -- if officially secular -- country.
 

Date created : 2009-12-21

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