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You're reading: Romanians vote on whether to impeach president

BUCHAREST — Romania is holding a referendum on impeaching President Traian Basescu, part of a political battle that has raised questions about the rule of law in the fledgling EU member.

Basescu’s rivals are
seeking to impeach him for the second time in five years. They claim
the 60-year-old populist violated the constitution by meddling in
government business, coddling cronies and using the secret services
against enemies.

Basescu says the impeachment process is a
political vendetta carried out by opponents plotting to seize control of
EU funds and the justice system. He has urged supporters to boycott
Sunday’s vote in order to nullify it by a low turnout.

The
political turmoil has dented Romania’s credibility, with the U.S. and
the EU expressing doubts about the left-leaning government’s respect for
the judiciary’s independence.

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