Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Romania Lawmakers Ease Referendum Rules on President Impeachment
Romania’s Parliament approved a section in the law governing referendums to make it easier to impeach the president as the nation’s two top politicians bicker over policy.
Lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies, in which Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s coalition government holds a majority, voted 187 to 56 to lower the number of referendum votes needed to validate the impeachment. More than half of voters taking part in the referendum would be needed, instead of a majority of all eligible voters in the country. President Traian Basescu needs to sign the change into law for it to become effective.
Romania, which has changed governments twice this year, is facing increased political turmoil ahead of general elections. Ponta and Basescu have argued over who should represent the country at the next meeting of European Union heads. Ponta also accused Basescu of instigating accusations the premier plagiarized his doctoral thesis.
Ponta’s political ally and head of the Liberal Party, Crin Antonescu, said his party may seek to suspend Basescu.
The Parliament also approved on June 19 another law easing the impeachment procedure by dropping the need for a notice from the Constitutional Court before the suspension procedure can go ahead and seek the citizens’ vote in a referendum.
Former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, Ponta’s mentor, allegedly attempted to commit suicide the night before he was expected to go to prison for the country’s first conviction of a top-ranking politician.
General Prosecutor Laura Kovesi was quoted by Mediafax today as saying prosecutors are investigating the medical records of Nastase’s suicide attempt.
The Bucharest-based newswire also quoted anti-corruption prosecutors as saying that they are investigating a doctor and three police officers involved in Nastase’s case, on allegations that they hampered the jailing procedures of the former premier.
Ponta and other members of his Social Democratic Party have repeatedly said that Nastase’s sentence was politically motivated.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at email@example.com