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Romanian president says to resign if parliament votes against him

Romanian President Traian Basescu has said that he would resign if the parliament votes to dismiss him from office, local Cotidianul daily reported on Friday.

It is the first time the president himself mentioned the possibility of his resignation. "After the possible impeachment vote, the generators of this abuse must be brought face to face with the electors. Immediately after the parliament's vote, my resignation would be the only thing that would put us all in front of the electors," Basescu said. He added that he would "go before the public with responsibility" in a possible earlier presidential election. The idea of suspending President Traian Basescu from office emerged early this year, amidst a serious political crisis generated by the reciprocal accusations traded by President Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.

The main opposition Social-Democratic Party (PSD) publicly announced the start of the procedure for the dismissal of the head of state, whom they accused of repeated Constitution violations. On February 28, the parliament decided to set up a committee to inquire into the alleged misdeeds of the president and on March 21, the committee published a report in which it concluded that Basescu had breached the Constitution. Early this April, the Constitutional Court analyzed the dismissal proposal, ruling that President Basescu had not seriously breached the Constitution as to justify his dismissal. In fact, during all these months of debates over his removal from office, Basescu has not declared himself bothered by the initiative of the main opposition Social Democrats (PSD), explaining that the suspension of the president is a democratic and constitutional procedure.

PSD leader Mircea Geoana said on Thursday that PSD continued the approach for the suspension of Basescu, and all the 150 votes of parliamentary groups are assured. "There are no more or less severe breaches of the Constitution, and the Romanian people must decide whether they still feel the need for Basescu," Geoana pointed out. Moreover, sources from the party revealed that Geoana received the mandate to hold discussions in the next days with the leaders of the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Greater Romania Parties (PRM) in order to obtain enough votes. However, for some PSD members, this action seems to be rather an image exercise. The Liberal has not expressed an official stand to be adopted over the suspension vote, while PRM was characterized as being chiefly hesitant about this matter. For the time being, the Conservative Party alone has assured PSD of its support.

In the ruling Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), the situation is not clear either, as Union leader Béla Markó hinted on Thursday that some members could vote for the suspension. Markó said that the party was divided over the issue and, practically, "any decision is possible." Markó stressed that he would discuss next week with the parliamentary groups of UDMR in order to draw a conclusion about this issue. "The President has given us too many reasons of discontent. But we considered that suspending the President is an unwelcome action," said the UDMR leader.

The Constitutional Court has a consultative role on the matter, and it mentioned that the parliament is left to make a final decision. The parliament is still waiting for the written motivations of the Constitutional Court, and the joint session of the parliament to put the dismissal up for vote will possibly happen next week. In case the parliament votes for dismissal, a referendum will be called to allow the voters to state their wish about Basescu's future. (