Romanians are voting in a referendum on whether to impeach President Traian Basescu.
Traian Basescu has already been suspended by parliament in a series of moves that have caused alarm among Romania’s EU partners because of the speed of the process.
The government accuses Traian Basescu of exceeding his authority and of meddling in government affairs.
Traian Basescu denies the accusations and has urged a boycott of Sunday’s referendum.
Romanians are voting in a referendum on whether to impeach President Traian Basescu
Under a new Romanian law backed by Traian Basescu’s Liberal Democrat Party (PDL), more than half of the electorate will have to vote to make the result valid.
The referendum is one of the fiercest political clashes in Romania since the return of democracy in 1990.
The result is hard to predict but will have long-term repercussions for Romania’s political and economic stability.
The row has paralyzed political decision-making in Romania at a time when it is finalizing agreements on an IMF-backed aid package.
Traian Basescu’s popularity has slumped since he backed tough austerity measures demanded by Romania’s international lenders and also because he backed corrupted members of PDL.
According to the latest polls, about 65% of the electorate wants to remove Traian Basescu. However, analysts say the government will struggle to achieve the required turnout.
Traian Basescu had initially urged Romanians to come to referendum and vote “no” to what he called “a coup”, but later asked his supporters to boycott the vote altogether, a stance also adopted by the new opposition (PDL). However, Traian Basescu will vote today even he urged people to boycott the referendum.
If he is impeached, a presidential election must be held within three months.
Earlier this month, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy voiced “deep concerns” about the political crisis in Romania “with regard to the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary”.
Romania and neighboring Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, but Brussels has put both countries under special monitoring because of concerns about judicial independence, corruption and political influence in state institutions.
Ukraine denounces a threatened EU boycott of next month’s Euro 2012 football championship as “destructive”.
In a statement, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the move would undermine the image of the tournament and be detrimental to millions of Ukrainians and Poles.
Poland – which is co-hosting Euro 2012 – has also criticized any boycott.
Several European leaders are considering cancelling their trips to Ukraine, in protest over the treatment of jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko.
Yulia Tymoshenko, who is on hunger strike, alleges she was beaten by prison guards.
The statement from the Ukrainian foreign ministry said sport events were designed to bring unity, and criticized what it said were attempts to politicize them.
“We view as destructive attempts to politicize sporting events, which since ancient times have played a paramount role in improving understanding and agreement between nations,” the statement said.
“A successful championship will be a victory not for politicians, parties or ideologies, but for all Ukrainians and Poles. Its failure will be a loss for millions,” it said.
Ukraine denounces a threatened EU boycott of next month's Euro 2012 football championship as "destructive"
Austria has said it will boycott all the matches in Ukraine, while the Netherlands said it will not attend unless Yulia Tymoshenko’s treatment improves.
On Thursday, EU officials said European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso would not be attending.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also reported to be considering boycotting the event, while the UK says it is undecided on whether to attend.
Meanwhile, five European presidents – from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Slovenia – have said they will not attend a Ukrainian summit of Central and East European leaders next week in Yalta.
In an attempt to ratchet up the pressure further, Germany earlier said the EU is prepared to delay a trade agreement with Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that “with our EU partners we are unanimous that the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine cannot be ratified as long as the rule of law in Ukraine does not develop in the right direction”.
But Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has said Euro 2012 is on track and UEFA – European football’s governing body – had not complained.
“The tournament is ready and on 11 May we will be transferring the control of the four stadia to UEFA.”
Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, was jailed last year for abuse of office, in a trial condemned by the West as politically motivated.
She is an arch-rival of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych, who beat her to the presidency in February 2010, avenging his defeat in the 2004 Orange Revolution.
The opening games of the month-long Euro 2012 will be played on 9 June.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.