Thursday, May 24, 2007

Basescu reinstated as Romania's President

BUCHAREST, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Suspended President Traian Basescu took over the powers of the Romanian head of state Wednesday evening.

The reinstating ceremony took place at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, where Basescu was welcomed with military honors. The president walked past a guard of honor, and after a military brass band played the national anthem, he greeted the presidential advisors and state counselors from the Presidential Administration, who had been on leave during the time that Romania was led by a caretaker president.

Basescu resumed his term-in-office barely tens of minutes after the Constitutional Court's ruling on the May 19 referendum was published in the Official Gazette.

The Court's Ruling confirms the results of Saturday's referendum and decides that Basescu resumes his powers of Romanian President.

The reinstating ceremony was initially scheduled to take place on Thursday, but was moved up probably because of the press boycott on Thursday proposed by The Romanian Press Club in protest of Basescu's "unacceptable and abusive" conduct.

As reported, Basescu was approached on Saturday by a journalist while he and his wife were shopping in a Bucharest supermarket. Basescu snatched the phone of the journalist who questioned him on what was the expected outcome of the vote and recorded footage on her mobile phone. Afterwards, in a conversation with his wife in their car, unaware of the fact that the phone was still recording,the president referred to the journalist as "a stinking and aggressive gypsy." Subsequently, he returned the phone to the reporter and some TV stations broadcast the footage.

International Federation of Journalists on Tuesday accused Basescu of abusive and offensive conduct, while the Romanian Press Club decided to file a criminal complaint against the president over the incident, proposing at the same time a day of press boycott against Basescu on Thursday, when he will officially resume his mandate as president.

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