June 23rd, 2018

Romanian drama: the mayor, the soprano and the champion

By The Associated Press on June 14, 2018.

Romania's Simona Halep holds the cup at the Roland Garros stadium, Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Paris. Halep won Saturday the French Open tennis tournament women's final. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

BUCHAREST, Romania – Romania is gripped by a political soap opera featuring French Open tennis champion Simona Halep, a world famous soprano and the mayor of Bucharest.

Following her win in Paris this weekend, Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea – a key member of the country’s ruling Social Democratic Party – held a grand ceremony to give Halep the keys to the city.

Thousands cheered Halep, but when the mayor began to speak, she was booed.

Firea retorted that groups allied to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros had conspired to “compromise the event.”

Critics said Firea was trying to cash in on Halep’s victory, and soprano Angela Gheorghiu claimed the mayor had done the same thing to her in the past.

A social media campaign orchestrated by the Social Democrats claimed it was Halep who had been booed, not the mayor. The party fired the campaign co-ordinator late Wednesday.

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