Romania’s suspended President Traian Basescu was poised to survive an impeachment referendum due to low turnout, according to the official preliminary results announced early Monday.
“On Sunday, until 23:00 local time (2100 GMT), when polls were closed, 45.92 percent of voters expressed their electoral option, according to estimates,” announced the country’s Central Electoral Bureau.
This national referendum was held Sunday, between 7:00 and 23:00 (0500 to 2100 GMT), for ousting Basescu, who was suspended by the parliament for alleged abuses of power.
According to the referendum law, the president is dismissed with 50 percent plus one vote of those voting and the referendum is considered valid if the turnout is 50 percent plus one citizen from the permanent electoral lists.
The turnout is apparently below the required minimum to be legally binding and thus he survived, claimed Basescu on national TV, saying “Romanians have invalidated the referendum by not participating.”
Made up of the Social Democratic Party, the National Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, the ruling Liberal Social Union argued that the referendum will be validated, as the turnout was over 50 percent according to the parallel count conducted by the union.
The preliminary results of the Central Electoral Bureau are only estimates, based on the centralization of votes in 2,889 polling stations, out of 18,242, said Dan Sova, senator of the major ruling Social Democratic Party.
The “real” result will be known after completion of counting votes, stressed Liberal’s Vice-Chairman Relu Fenechiu, adding that “we believe the final turnout will be about 52 percent.”
“We will wait for the official results of the Central Electoral Bureau in a democratic and civilized manner. We will wait for and we will all respect the decision of the Constitutional Court,” Antonescu told a press conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
This is the second time that Basescu went through an impeachment referendum, after he survived the popular consultation organized on May 19, 2007.
Basescu did not go to the polling station and late Sunday asked “all those who could have endorsed me to stay at home.”
In the three-week campaign for the referendum, Basescu’s main supporter, the Democrat Liberal Party, professed right from the start its solidarity with the suspended president, supporting him throughout the campaign.
Whereas at the earlier rallies, the watchword to the electorate was to vote against the president’s ousting, and the political tune was completely changed on July 24 when the party decided to boycott the referendum in a bid to make the process invalid by an insufficient voter turnout.
On the other hand, high-profile members of the Social Liberal Union called on the citizens to go to the polls.
The parliament approved on July 6 the impeachment request against the president submitted by the ruling Social Liberal Union, a ruling alliance that came to power three months ago.
First elected president in 2004, Basescu steered his country into the European Union five years ago, a historic step for this country.
He was re-elected president for a second 5-year term in 2009, amid allegations of electoral fraud that were ultimately dismissed by the Constitutional Court.Share on Facebook