Romania president survives vote

Traian Basescu easily survives a referendum on whether to impeach him.

    Posters in Bucharest tell
    voters not to listen to parliament [AFP]

    Vote for reform
     
    The outspoken former mayor of Bucharest, who is a strong proponent of reform for the new EU member, said Saturday's referendum showed that the Romanian people also wanted to reform the country's court system.
     
    More than 18 million Romanians were eligible to vote, including about two million citizens living abroad who can vote in embassies and other locations.
     
    A majority of those casting ballots would have had to vote against Basescu for him to be removed from office.
     
    There was no threshold required for the vote to be valid.
     
    Mircea Geoana, who heads the opposition Social Democratic Party, which voted to suspend Basescu, said: "I voted for the chance of a new beginning for all those who don't want scandal and chaos and who want to live in ... a democratic Europe ... We need a new president."
     
    The current political crisis started with an escalating conflict between Basescu and Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the prime minister and a former ally.
     
    Ministers expelled
     
    Last month, Tariceanu expelled several ministers from his cabinet who were seen as being close to Basescu, including the reformist justice minister, Monica Macovei.
     
    Basescu has also clashed with members of parliament, whom he accused of drafting laws for special interests.
     
    Opponents, mostly ex-Communist Social Democrats who were tainted by corruption when they were in power for most of 1990s, accuse Basescu of using intelligence services to spy on opposition politicians.
     
    Last month, five ruling and opposition parties ignored a court ruling that Basescu did not abuse his powers and voted in parliament to suspend Basescu, accusing him of violating the constitution.
     
    Romanian law allows parliament to suspend the president, who has limited powers and cannot dissolve parliament or sack the prime minister.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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