Romania's parliament has voted to establish a commission to investigate whether to impeach President Traian Basescu on charges of "unconstitutional behaviour".
The charges were brought by Romania's leftist opposition which accuses Basescu of meddling in the justice system, among other irregularities. The impeachment enquiry is the latest in a developing political crisis that has enveloped Romania since the President took office in 2004.
Basescu was defiant. "I won't change my attitude, " he said. "The President's involvement in the State is a constitutional obligation. It is unrealistic to make me give up."
Since coming to power in 2004 Basescu has won international praise for giving strong support to fighting widespread corruption and preparing Romania for European Union entry later this year. But he has become entangled in a growing rift among the ruling centrists, which some observers say is causing political paralysis.