Romanians are voting in a referendum today that will decide the fate of the country’s president.
Traian Basescu was suspended by Prime Minister Victor Ponta’s government following accusations of cronyism.
Under Romania’s constitution, the impeachment referendum needs a more than 50 percent turnout to be valid. Analysts think that is unlikely.
Basescu claims the country is in the grip of a coup d’etat. One political analyst, Ion Cristoiu, thinks he has a point.
“In this case, in just three days we had an impeachment decided, not by those who had won an electoral majority, but as a consequence of arrangements in parliament,” said the journalist from B1TV.
“So although it might not have exactly the same meaning, I think it was a coup d’etat and the Romanian people are being called upon to rubber stamp the process,” Cristoiu added.
But others have ridiculed Basescu’s claims including Razvan Dumitrescu, a journalist for the news channel Antena 3.
“This president, who is apparently hit by a coup d’etat, is able to speak freely every evening on Romanian TV. He still has his freedom and his own point of view, is able to express himself and is not under house arrest – which would be the case with coup d’etats in some countries.”
Polls suggest most Romanians do want Basescu removed from office. The government tried to drop the minimum turnout rule for today’s referendum but backtracked after the EU intervened.