Romania: A referendum where everyone is a loser
30 July 2012
Jurnalul Naţional, România libera, Adevărul, Gandul
Called on to confirm the impeachment of President Traian Băsescu by referendum, the Romanians have delivered two messages. By failing to pass the fifty-percent participation threshold (only 46.23 percent came out to vote) they invalidated the referendum, which lets the president cling on to power. But by voting overwhelmingly for his dismissal (87.52 percent), they leave him weakened.
“Nearly nine million Romanians have told Băsescu clearly that he has nothing left to do at Cotroceni,” the presidential palace, writes Jurnalul Naţional. “He will indeed return, but by jumping the railing he is coming back as a cheat.” The paper, which is close to the USL, the coalition government of Victor Ponta that wanted to impeach Băsescu, attributes this result partly to the fact that –
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was allowed to ask 1.5 million Romanian citizens [the Hungarian minority] not to vote in the referendum. [...] The inappropriate behaviour of some European officials [who have spoken out against what was called a “coup”] have created an anti-European mood in the country. [...] Cohabitation with President Băsescu being impossible, his political imposture will quickly come to an end quickly – probably well before 2014 [date of the next presidential election.
România libéră, for its part, fears that –
The invalidation of the referendum does not solve the political crisis, but amplifies it. What follows will be days of tension, of street demonstrations and, most likely, new attempts from the Left to unseat Traian Băsescu. With, as an added gift, political and economic instability for the country.
Adevărul announces that Romania’s currency, the lei, has lost seven percent against the euro since the start of the political crisis, and also the arrival of the IMF in Bucharest on July 31 to –
... assess the problems caused by the political scandal.
Ultimately, however, regrets Gândul, the big loser of this episode is Romanian democracy –
Democracy has been the victim of a gang rape. First by Prime Minister Victor Ponta and the interim president Crin Antonescu, who worked hard, to the very limits of the law, to suspend the president. Then by the president, who violated the democratic essence of the referendum by calling for a boycott; and finally by the people, who have failed to honour the essence of democracy.