The Romanian parliament has voted to suspend President Traian Basescu from office after the ruling coalition accused him of violating the constitution and exceeding his authority.
A referendum has been set for July 29 to let the people decide whether he should continue.
The vote reflects deteriorating relations and an increasing power struggle between the president and prime minister Victor Ponta, whose government took office in May.
“I can assure you that, as president of the state, I acted with full responsibility in the period when economic crises hit badly, I repeat badly,”
President Basescu told parliament.
The move has pleased the centre-left prime minister’s supporters but it deepens the turmoil in the EU’s second-poorest country.
Accused of plagiarism, Ponta has plenty of his own detractors.
Romania’s third prime minister in a year travels to Brussels next week.
The Commission has called on Romania to respect the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.