Fun fact: President Basescu is one of the few remaining world leaders who is unflinchingly supportive of the war in Iraq.
The President is popular with the people, but not with the rest of the political establishment. The parliament remains dominated by left-wing parties who are quite anti-Basescu. For largely partisan reasons I don't entirely understand, they recently decided to impeach the President, even though the Supreme Court said he had committed no impeachable offense.
Yesterday the Parliament voted 322 to 108 in favor of impeachment, narrowly missing the two-thirds majority needed. So instead they are going with plan B.
President Basescu was declared suspended from office for one month. He was replaced by the Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Nicolae Vacaroiu. Before the 30-day period is up, the parliament will call a referendum on removing Basescu from office permanently. But the good old Associated Press says that this is just a waste of time:
More than half of voting-age Romanians would have to approve a referendum for it to pass, which would be virtually impossible, given Basescu’s popularity and the usually low turnout in Romanian ballots.
And even if he was impeached, he says he'll just run again. That's an interesting impeachment loophole we rarely think about. Impeachment is only effective if it's shameful and humiliating. If they guy doesn't care, and the people still love him, it's not particularly effective.