Thursday, May 24, 2007

Romania president reinstated after referendum

[JURIST] Suspended Romanian President Trian Basescu [official website, in English; BBC profile] was reinstated Wednesday after the Romanian Constitutional Court [official website] certified results of a weekend referendum where 74 percent of voters rejected Basescu's impeachment [JURIST report]. Basescu was suspended [JURIST report] in April by a 322-108 vote in the Romanian Parliament [official website] after the prime minister made accusations that Basescu was involved in suspicious multi-million-dollar energy deals. The Constitutional Court upheld the suspension [JURIST report] and also later upheld a move by members of the opposition in parliament to make it easier to remove Basescu from office by reducing the number of popular votes [JURIST report] required for impeachment.

Parliament has said that Basescu violated the Romanian constitution [text] by overriding the Cabinet and criticizing the judiciary, but Basescu has asserted that his suspension was a response to his attempts to reduce political corruption and the influence of prosecutors and judges. In a February speech [PDF text, in Romanian], Basescu called for a national referendum [JURIST report] to allow citizens to vote on constitutional amendments aimed at reducing corruption. Romania's January 1 entrance into the European Union [JURIST report] carried a requirement for Romania [JURIST news archive] to address corruption and human rights violations. AP has more.

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