Basescu fate in balance as Romania votes

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Basescu fate in balance as Romania votes

Basescu fate in balance as Romania votes
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The fate of Romania’s suspended President Traian Basescu hangs in the balance as people vote in a referendum on whether to remove him from office.

The government’s drive to unseat Basescu needs a turnout of over 50 percent. The opposition has called for a boycott of the vote.

Reports said that several hours after the polls opened, the suggestions were that by the end of the day the turnout could be close to the 50 percent threshold.

The man who has replaced Basescu, at least temporarily, Crin Antonescu, has urged people to cast their ballots in large numbers.

Romania’s former president Ion Iliescu, Basescu’s predecessor, voted early on Sunday morning.

The attempt to remove Basescu, accused of overstepping his powers, has drawn international criticism.

In the country at large though he has become unpopular for backing austerity and over alleged cronyism.

Voters at one polling station in Bucharest explained why they wanted a change of leader.

“I can no longer put up with the country’s misery. Education is at rock bottom, they’ve cut pay and pensions, without taking economic measures… and it’s not the rule of law, it’s a style that’s pure bolshevism,” said one man.

“I voted for a Romania whose politicians take care of the prosperity of the country and of its people, not of their own pockets,” said another.

Euronews correspondent in Bucharest, Laura Davidescu, said: “The measure of a democracy is the voters and how they vote. What will Romanians do with this fundamental reality of a legal state? We’ll find out tonight.”