Suspended Romania president campaigns against  corruption as impeachment vote looms

Suspended Romania president campaigns against corruption as impeachment vote looms

[JURIST] Suspended Romanian President Traian Basescu [official website, English version; BBC profile] Wednesday continued to speak out against political corruption while facing a Saturday impeachment referendum. Basescu was suspended [JURIST report] by the opposition-dominated parliament in April for allegedly abusing his powers; earlier this month, the nation's Constitutional Court [official website] upheld an opposition-sponsored bill making it easier to remove Basescu [JURIST report] by reducing the number of popular votes required for his impeachment. Existing legislation required more than half of Romania's citizens to support removal, making impeachment almost impossible. According to polls, Basescu is supported by over 70% of voters.

In a Wednesday interview with AP, Basescu said he believes 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 an accompanying mandate to reduce corruption. AP has more.