Lawmakers ask Romanian President to step down upon accusations against his brother.

By bne IntelliNews June 26, 2014

Romania’s parliament has asked President Traian Basescu to resign in order to prevent any possible pressure the judiciary might feel in handling the accusations expressed already against his brother Mircea Basescu – Ziarul Financiar daily. The statement came amid tapings being leaked to the market, which demonstrate Mircea Basescu’s involvement in the case. President has not responded yet to lawmakers' text, but he previously rejected any involvement in the corruption deeds and expressed full support for the judiciary in investigating the case.

BALANCE OF POWERS. Parliament’s statement was initiated by the leftist ruling PSD and voted by 344 of the parliament’s 588 MPs. PNL – former partners of PSD at rule, bluntly accused the initiators of the statement that they, on the opposite, want Basescu out of the office so that they can gain control over judiciary and perpetrate corruption deeds. Ethnic Hungarians’ party UDMR refused to support the statement against Basescu invoking the lack of any final decision in the case of President’s brother – not to mention President’s unproved involvement.

IMPLICATIONS. The statement has no legal implications as it is not a formal impeachment. The term of President Basescu expires this year and presidential elections are scheduled for November. In principle, holding early presidential elections would help ruling PSD freeze the robust support it currently enjoys and furthermore would prevent the [however unlikely] formation of a centre-right opposition. But even with no consequences, leftist PSD can expect the support President Basescu enjoys among educated voters to spread among broader electorate. President has openly expressed support for a newly formed party, PMP – which however performed modestly in the April 25 European elections.

COMMENT. Ironically, even if corruption is perceived to be equally spread among Romanian political parties – it is the leftist PSD that has one of its former PMs [Adrian Nastase] currently in jail for such corruption deeds. And it is PSD’s ally PC that has its founder Dan Voiculescu sentenced [with appeal rights indeed] to six years in jail also for corruption deeds. The Parliament as a whole has been constantly mentioned in the EC’s annual reports on judiciary reforms as frequently impeding reforms. Earlier this week, lawmakers have endorsed a bill under which mayors are allowed to be part of the managing boards of local utilities companies – thus removing incompatibility allegations against a large number of mayors.

On the opposite, President Traian Basescu has encouraged judiciary reforms and hailed the activity of the anti-corruption prosecution office DNA.

 

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