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Updated: July 30, 2012 11:23 IST

Romanian referendum invalid due to low turnout

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Suspended Romanian President Traian Basescu holding a torch while speaking at the end of the referendum on Romania's president impeachment day Romania on Sunday. Photo: AP
AP Suspended Romanian President Traian Basescu holding a torch while speaking at the end of the referendum on Romania's president impeachment day Romania on Sunday. Photo: AP

Romanian election officials declared on late Sunday that a referendum to impeach the nation’s president on grounds that he overstepped his authority had failed because of low voter turnout.

The Central Election Bureau put the voter turnout in Sunday’s referendum on President Traian Basescu at 45.92 percent, with a 3 percent margin of error. By law, such referendums are invalid if less than half the electorate cast ballots. The bureau did not immediately give the outcome of the vote, but two exit polls showed more than 80 percent favored impeaching Mr. Basescu.

“I assure Romanians that once I return ... I will try and generate a sentiment of reconciliation in society,” Mr. Basescu said as he announced he had survived the vote. “It’s clear that Romanians are unhappy about what has happened in recent years. Divisions in society must be stopped; they must be annihilated, because Romania needs all its energy to integrate into the civilized world.”

Mr. Basescu was accused by his rivals in the government of violating the constitution by overstepping his authority to interfere in the daily running of the country, appointing loyalists to key positions in the justice system and using the secret services against his political rivals.

The political turmoil has dented Romania’s credibility, with the U.S. and European Union expressing doubts about the left-leaning government‘s respect for the independence of the judiciary. Critics accuse the government leader, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, of orchestrating the effort to oust Mr. Basescu. Mr. Ponta claimed the president was behind an effort to make public a scandal involving allegations that Ponta had plagiarized his 2004 doctoral thesis.

Mr. Basescu claimed his rivals were planning to seize control of the judicial system and European Union funds. Romania joined the EU in 2007.

Mr. Basescu, a former ship captain, called the impeachment process a political vendetta carried out by his opponents and urged supporters to boycott the vote a tactic that apparently helped him survive.

Mr. Basescu, who has been president since 2004, saw his approval numbers drop after the government introduced austerity measures in 2010 to meet demands by the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a multibillion euro (dollar) loan. The government cut public wages by one-fourth and raised the sales tax to 24 percent, one of the highest in the EU.

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His approval rating didn't drop because of the austerity measures, they dropped because he decided the best thing to do in the name of austerity was close down schools and hospitals, and slash the salaries of teachers and doctors. WHILE puring a billion euro of state funds into his own ridiculous villa, and other things like that.

And the 50% line was also Basescu grasping straws - no such thing existed two weeks ago! He went and implemented this law under the table in a few short days, and his opposition couldn't contest it as he did it legally. The 50% line also didn't indicate the true 50%, as the voting population in Romania is closer 14-15 million, not the 18 million that is due to people being on two lists (everyone who ever moved, everyone who left the country) and dead people who were never removed.

And still 8 million people turned up to vote against him. 5 million elected him in 2009 (although even back then he won only because of fraud)!

from:  Anca
Posted on: Jul 30, 2012 at 15:53 IST
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