Sunday, July 8, 2012

Power struggle in Romania

Romania's parliament has suspended President Basescu. For his opponent, Prime Minister Ponta, this is a major victory. But the European Union is worried about democracy and the rule of law in Romania.

The Romanian Parliament on Friday evening decided to suspend President Traian Basescu from office. On July 29, a referendum will decide whether Basescu loses his job. Until then, Senate President Crin Anotescu, the second most powerful man in Romania, will take over the president's powers. Some 256 deputies and senators voted to impeach Basescu, with 114 opposed. This was a clear majority, as only 217 votes were required.

The leftist Social-Liberal Union of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, which has been in power since May, accused Basescu of having exceeded his authority. He had usurped government powers, pressured the judiciary, failed to respect the requirement of impartiality and tried to establish a presidential system. The constitution gives the president responsibility for, among other things, foreign and defense policy, and nominating a prime minister. The office is otherwise primarily ceremonial. Read More