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Romanian lawmakers to probe president on constitutional claim

Romania's parliament voted to investigate claims that President Traian Basescu violated the Constitution by interfering too much in domestic politics, a step that could lead to his suspension.

Opposition politicians say Basescu must be investigated for publicly calling for the ouster of parliamentary leaders, criticizing the Constitutional Court, and saying the justice system and parliament are corrupt. They say his actions violate the Constitution and he should resign. “In two years as president of Romania, Traian Basescu has demonstrated he cannot obey the Constitution,” Titus Corlatean, a lawmaker with the PSD, said in a speech to parliament today before the vote. “He has constantly provoked crises in relations with public authorities.” The vote, 243 in favor and 76 against, also measures support for Basescu during a feud with Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu.

They have accused each other of corruption in increasing spats since Romania joined the European Union on January 1. The feud has split the ruling coalition, dominated by Tariceanu's National Liberal Party and the Democrat Party loyal to Basescu. Cristian Radulescu, a Democrat lawmaker, said his party will ask the Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of parliament forming a committee to determine whether the Constitution was violated. Lawmakers didn't set a date to start the 15-member commission. If it decides Basescu violated the Constitution, opposition lawmakers intend to propose his suspension. (Bloomberg)