Precede BUCHAREST Former King Deported Hours After Return From 43 Years In Exile
GENEVA (AP) _ King Michael, Romania’s former monarch, returned to his Swiss exile today after being expelled by the Bucharest government less than 12 hours after he had arrived on a surprise visit, his first in four decades.
The 69-year-old former king returned to Romania exactly a year after the execution of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in a popular revolution. The monarch had been forced into exile with the Communist takeover 43 years ago.
The Romanian government, already facing mounting strikes and protests by an opposition that accuses it of being a Communist regime in disguise, apparently feared the visit by Michael might stir up unrest. It unceremoniously threw him out on the ground that he had not secured permission to visit.
After Ceausescu was overthrown, the former king had announced himself ready to return from exile as head of a constitutional monarchy ″if my people want me to come back.″
The National Salvation Front, which took power during last year’s revolution in Romania and won subsequent elections, extended no invitation for him to visit, and had refused to grant him a visa.
In June, the former king accused the Front of leading the country back toward Communist dictatorship.
Before being put on a Romanian-chartered flight to Switzerland this morning, Michael termed his expulsion ″a rather sorry state of affairs.″
The plane carrying the former monarch and a small entourage landed at Zurich airport today, airport officials said. The king was traveling by connecting flight to Geneva, where he lives.
Michael had arrived on Tuesday night at Bucharest’s Otopeni airport on his private plane from Switzerland.
He was accompanied by his wife, Ana de Bourbon-Parme; his daughter, Sophie; and several journalists and aides. They were met by another daughter, Margarita, who was already in Romania on a visit.
Michael was to have attended a Mass there today and leave Romania tonight.
But soon after the group arrived, the Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the three family members had arrived without visas and ″crossed the border fraudulently.″
Sophie insisted that Michael had received a visa.
″My father received a visa just like this one,″ she said, displaying her passport with a separate stamped visa document. She said officials had taken her father’s Danish diplomatic passport. Michael also said he had a visa.
Danielle Maillefer, a spokeswoman for Michael, said Premier Petre Roman had ″strongly advised him not to come, but did not give a firm yes or no.″
She said Michael ″felt he has a role to play in Romania,″ and so decided to ignore Roman’s advice.
The former king, who is of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, ruled Romania twice for short periods. He first succeeded his grandfather, Ferdinand, in 1927 as Michael I, after his father, Carol, left the country.
After returning in 1930, Carol acceded to the throne and ruled for 10 years. Michael was then crowned again and reigned until he was forced to abdicate when the Communists took power in 1947. He later declared the abdication invalid.
During World War II, he ruled briefly under Gen. Ion Antonescu, who was allied with the Axis led by Nazi Germany. Michael is seen as important in the 1944 coup that removed Antonescu, allowing Romania to change sides and support the Allies.
He helped install a government with a token Communist presence. The Communists rigged elections in 1947 and forced Michael to abdicate.