Referendum to impeach the president today
Romanians go to vote today to decide if President Traian Băsescu should be impeached. The Romanian parliament decided on 7th July that he should face an impeachment referendum and in the interim period Speaker of the Senate, Crin Antonescu, has been acting as president.
The president and Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) have been calling on voters to boycott the referendum in a move to prevent a 50% or more turnout. If less than 50% of voters turnout to vote the result of the referendum will be voided. The 50% mark will be reached when 9,154,307 voters have voted.
A series of polls suggest that around 65% of voters want Băsescu to be impeached, but a mixture of annual holidays and disenchantment with politicians in general may result in a low turnout.
Prior to the parliament voting to impeach the president the ruling Social Liberal Union (USL) made up of Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Conservative Party (PC) changed the rules for the impeachment referendum. Before, a majority of all voters was required for the impeachment referendum to be carried, but they changed the rules where it then required only a simple majority of those who vote.
A few days later the Romanian Constitutional Court ruled that at least half of all Romanian voters must vote for the referendum to be valid; in effect returning the rules to an overall majority of voters once more.
The Social-Liberal Union government in return has established 1,000 additional polling stations and extended voting hours by an additional four hours.
In 2007 the president survived another impeachment referendum but at that time he was popular in the country.