Referendum to remove President Basescu from office starts in Romania

BUCHAREST — Romanians to decide today whether they still want their President in office

Some 18 million Romanian voters are invited to decide today whether the country’s suspended President Traian Basescu returns to office or is dismissed in a referendum that has brought havoc on the political stage in Bucharest.

The vote comes one month after the April 19 decision by the Parliament to suspend Basescu on grounds that he breached the Romanian Constitution on many accounts.

The referendum is the climax of a political crisis that has lasted for more than a year, pitching President Basescu against both Liberal prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu and much of the Romanian Parliament.

The conflict has got out of control shortly after Romania joined the European Union on January 1 this year, as many politicians were commented to have drawn back their support for anti-corruption and Justice reforms of which Basescu and his ally, ex-Justice minister Monica Macovei, were seen as major defenders.

Polls over the past week have shown popular President Traian Basescu will receive the backing of most Romanians in today’s referendum despite a fierce campaign by both the opposition Social Democrats (PSD) and the main governing party, the Liberals (PNL.

The questions asks voters: “Do you agree with the dismissal of President Basescu from office?” The two possible answers are “Yes” and “No”.

Thousands of voting sections in Romania opened at 8 a.m. Romanian time this morning and will close at 8.00 p.m. A total of 17,000 voting sections at home and abroad are/will be open for voting today.

Millions of Romanian workers in Spain, Italy and Romanian citizens living across the globe are expected to have a major say in today’s referendum.

Source: HotNews