Romanian Interior Minister Iaon Rus resigned on August 6, citing pressure from both the government and the opposition, as the long-winded battle over impeachment of President Traian Basescu continues. Rus' ministry had twice certified the electoral registers that are now at the centre of the row.
Rus cited "unacceptable" pressures amid the controversy over his ministry's organisation of the referendum, which was returned a large majority in favour of ousting Basescu, but has thus far been ruled invalid because less than 50% of the electorate turned out. "I have submitted my resignation," said Rus, a member of Prime Minister Victor Ponta's centre-left coalition - the Social Liberal Union (USL). The official complained of pressure from across the political spectrum, including both government colleagues and members of Basescu's opposition party.
Romania is currently awaiting validation of the referendum result by the Constitutional Court, with the government pushing for it to use different electoral roles that it says will show over 50% of voters did in fact turn out. The court said last week it has postponed its decision in order to check that claim. The court initially put the decision back to September 12, but has now said it will rule on the matter on August 31. Either way, Romania continues to live in the shadow of intense political uncertainty.
It is that move to contest the accuracy of the electoral registers that is behind Rus' resignation, with his ministry responsible for certifying the lists ahead of the vote. Around that time, Ponta praised "the ministry of interior because they organised the referendum absolutely without any problem". After the vote, Rus again certified the validity of the lists in an address to the Constitutional Court on August 1, but the interior ministry made a U-turn the following day, claiming that it could not now guarantee their accuracy.
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