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The King's speech highlights rifts in Romania

The King's speech highlights rifts in Romania
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Sixty-four years after his last speech to the Romanian parliament, the country’s former King Michael has addressed the chamber again.

But the 90-year-old’s presence has highlighted splits that still exist about Romania’s past.

He criticised what he called the “contempt for ethics and the central role of state institutions, as well as the personalisation of power’“in modern Romania.

Not everyone welcomed his return to parliament. President Traian Basescu has said his abdication in 1947 was an “act of treason” calling him “Russia’s servant”. Basescu boycotted the speech in parliament.

One of the last surviving heads of state from the World War Two era, he was forced to stand down by Soviet-backed communists.

He had stayed when Romania fought alongside Nazi Germany for the bulk of the war, but after playing a leading role in overthrowing the fascist leader in 1944 the country joined the allies.

Following his abdication the ex-King lived in exile in Britain and Switzerland. His Romanian citizenship was not restored until 1997.