Romanian President Basescu impeached

July 6, 2012 at 3:18 PM
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BUCHAREST, Romania, July 6 (UPI) -- The Romanian Parliament voted Friday to impeach President Traian Basescu and are expected to hold a referendum on his departure by the end of the month.

A bill was introduced to hold the vote July 29, HotNews.ro reported. The impeachment was supported by Prime Minister Victor Ponta and the governing coalition.

Before the vote, the European Commission warned the Romanian government that steps taken to undermine Basescu are threatening the rule of law in the country, EUobserver.com reported.

Olivier Bailly, an EC spokesman, said that Jose Manuel Barroso, the head of the commission, called Ponta, who is scheduled to come to Brussels next week to discuss the situation. Bailly said the commission believes the government is risking "all the progress made over the past five years in having more respect for the rule of law and democratic checks and balances and independence of the judiciary in this country."

Bailly cited steps to reduce the authority of the Constitutional Court.

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