Romania’s Interim President Says Constitution Wasn’t Breached

Romania’s interim President Crin Antonescu said the country’s constitution wasn’t breached amid impeachment proceedings against suspended President Traian Basescu.

Basescu was the only official who didn’t respect the constitution and was suspended because of that by parliament, Antonescu said today in a speech in Bucharest.

European Commission President Jose Barroso and EU President Herman Van Rompuy expressed concern over measures by Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the cabinet’s efforts to curtail the power of Romania’s Constitutional Court. EU officials warned that a referendum on whether to remove suspended Basescu must adhere to the law.

“The President of Romania, even if his interim, doesn’t take orders from anybody, except from the parliament and the citizens,” Antonescu said. “The laws of Romania are made only in Romania.”

He added that “in what concerns the impeachment referendum, there is no confusion: the legislator is the parliament, not the Constitutional Court.”

Barroso said in a statement yesterday after meeting Ponta that the Romanian government should restore the powers of the Court, appoint an ombudsman backed by all parties and establish independent procedures to appoint a prosecutor and anti-corruption czar.

Ponta assured EU leaders this week that the referendum on whether to remove Basescu, scheduled for July 29, will respect a court ruling requiring the participation of a majority of eligible voters.

The political turmoil today pushed the leu to a record low of 4.5688 per euro as of 4:02 p.m. in Bucharest.

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