BUCHAREST - Romania's Constitutional Court delayed a decision on the validity of a referendum on impeaching the president until September, the court said on Thursday, an unexpected twist that would deepen Romania's political crisis.
The European Union has criticised leftist Prime Minister
Victor Ponta’s tactics in trying to ensure the centre-right
President Traian Basescu was removed from office and demanded
the government respect Constitutional Court decisions.
The row between Ponta and Basescu has delayed policymaking
in the EU’s second-poorest member state and raised doubts over
Romania’s International Monetary Fund-led aid deal, sending the
leu currency to record lows.
Official data showed voter turnout at Sunday’s referendum
did not reach a required 50 percent level and the decision on
Basescu’s impeachment was delayed until Sept. 12.
Final results of Sunday’s vote showed 88 percent of those
who voted wanted Basescu, unpopular for his links with austerity
and perceptions of cronyism, removed from office.
“If you’re asking me, the referendum should have been
annulled,” Constitutional Court judge Aspazia Cojocaru told
reporters outside the court. “Everything was based on fake
Members of Ponta’s Social Liberal Union (USL) have suggested
the true number of voters was smaller, based on new preliminary
census data, and hence turnout would beat the threshold.
The leu extended losses after news of the delay
and traded 0.4 percent lower against the euro on the day.