[JURIST] The European Commission (EC) [official website] stated on Wednesday that urgent action is necessary [press release] to ensure that Romania respects the rule of law and judicial independence. The EC stated that Romania has made progress in the past few years, but that recent events [JURIST report] have called into question the country’s ability to maintain a democratic form of government. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta [BBC profile] promised that his country would work quickly to address the EC’s concerns. The EC’s report stated that many of the building blocks for a proper legislative framework are in place and that the county’s focused needs to shift to implementation.
Last week the Constitutional Court of Romania [official website, in Romanian] stated that at least 50 percent [JURIST report] of the electorate must turn out for the July 29 national referendum to decide whether Traian Basescu should be ousted from the presidency. The Romanian Parliament [official website] voted to impeach [JURIST report] Basescu earlier this month. Also earlier this month the Constitutional Court also accused Ponta of overstepping his authority [JURIST report] by attempting to seize control over the judiciary system. Ponta also ignored a decision by the court finding Basescu should be the representative of the country at the European Council meeting in Brussels. In 2009 the Constitutional Court declared incumbent President Basescu winner of the country’s disputed presidential election [JURIST report]. Basescu, who has been president of Romania since 2004, has survived impeachment once before. In 2007 Basescu was reinstated after the high court certified the results of a referendum in which 74 percent of voters rejected Basescu’s impeachment [JURIST report].