Romania’s Basescu decries third impeachment attempt

Romania’s Basescu decries third impeachment attempt


By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest

The Romanian President Traian Basescu accused his political rivals of staging a third attempt to remove him from office following a scandal in which a senator of the ruling social-liberal coalition (USL) blamed Basescu of illegally funding his first election campaign in 2004.

Sorin Rosca Stanescu, a senator of the Liberal Party, the junior party of the ruling coalition in Bucharest, presented some documents which prosecutors later proved as being fake which accused Basescu of illegally obtaining about 7 million USD to finance his campaign in 2004 when the latter won the first term as president.

Speaking in a talk show last night hosted by B1 TV, Basescu said Stanescu was part of a political ring acting with a view to put the head of state under charges of high treason which would have ultimately ended with his impeachment.

“The high treason charge is more convenient for the situation they find themselves in (the ruling coalition) since it involves a two thirds vote in the Parliament which would have automatically led to the suspension of the president by the time the High Court passed a verdict. That was the plan and Victor Ponta was involved in it, too” Basescu said, pointing at the prime-minister, his political arch-rival. USL has a 70 per cent majority in the Romanian Parliament.

As concerns Ponta, Basescu said the PM had deliberately launched fierce attacks against the president so they coincide with Stanescu’s campaign. Ponta had previously accused Basescu of having “sold Romania at the European Council”. “This statement is extremely serious and was meant to bring another piece to this plan so I end up in front of a committee under charges of high treason” the president also added.

Basescu also voiced concern Stanescu was helped by the minister of the Interior, Radu Stroe, accusations which the latter denied. Following this attempt, Stanescu was proposed for removal from the Liberal Party.

Traian Basescu had been previously impeached in 2007 and 2012, but reinstated after referendums which fell short of the legal turnout.

But the episode is just another evidence of a political fight becoming even sharper as Romania goes into 2014 when the country will hold presidential elections. Analysts warn the political wrangle will reach a climax next year as the sparring sides prepare under the belt blows in an attempt to win the first job in the country.

Though Basescu cannot run for a third term, he is expected to back one of the candidates of the rightist Popular Movement, a party recently founded after a splinter in his former democrat-liberal party (PDL), now the largest opposition party.

On the other side, USL is in theory backing the liberal leader Crin Antonescu, but angry voices among the social-democrats, the main party of the ruling coalition, argue the party should have its own candidate in the presidential race, with PM Victor Ponta singled out as a likely contender. Most likely, the talks on this topic will trouble waters in the ruling coalition next year since pressure mounts on Ponta to accept the nomination.