A president, impeached by 75% of members of parliament present and voting, then winning a renewed “mandate” from 75% of the voters (despite a very low turnout). This is the stuff that Linzian nightmare scenarios are made of: clashes over “dual democratic legitimacy.”
[President Traian] Basescu has said his opponents initiated the impeachment process to stop his pro-reform and anticorruption drive.
He said today that the result of the referendum shows Romania needs a new constitution which would eliminate ambiguities.
Basescu also said that the vote showed the public’s support for his agenda, including a lustration law against those who served the former communist regime at high level.
“The time has come to have a constitution for Romanians, not for politicians,” he said. “I would say that this vote also proves that Romanians want a lustration law. Seventy-five percent of those who voted were in favor of those [ideas] promoted by me, and only 25 percent were in favor of those 322 [legislators who voted for the suspension].”
Basescu has been locked in a long-running, bitter power struggle with liberal Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, a former ally.
Basescu has accused Tariceanu of shielding corrupt politicians, and the new business elites that enriched themselves during transition from communism to a market economy.
Tariceanu, in turn, has said Basescu has an autocratic style and insatiable “thirst for power.”
Mircea Geoana, leader of the Social Democratic Party, adds:
The low turnout does not give Traian Basescu the right to claim that he enjoys the people’s support… From this point of view, Traian Basescu’s victory is a victory without glory