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European Commission lists requests for Victor Ponta Government to prove it complies with rule of law and independence of justice The European Commission has issued a list of its requests on Romania, which were addressed to Romanian PM Victor Ponta on Thursday and aimed at Romania's continued compliance with European standards. The list includes tough points such as the dismissal of incompatible MPs, the reinstatement of certain rules for the validation of a referendum to impeach the President and avoiding naming people at a key anti-corruption body during the interim presidency of Crin Antonescu.
Top EU officials including EP President, Justice Commissioner speak out on Romania as PM Ponta leaves for Brussels EU states are "a little too quiet" regarding the situation in Romania, European Parliament president Martin Schulz said in an interview for Le Monde, quoted by AFP. He made the statement following a controversial vote in the Romanian Parliament to suspend President Traian Basescu, which has raised questions about compliance with the country's constitution. For her part, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding was also quoted by AFP today saying the political crisis in Romania was a "great danger". The two spoke out on Romania as PM Victor Ponta, who's governing alliance has pushed for the suspension of the President, visits Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.
US Ambassador to Romania: A referendum inconsistent with the Constitution would "knowingly provoke a very dangerous constitutional crisis" ​US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein says in a statement issued on Wednesday that a referendum in Romania "which appears inconsistent with the Constitution" would "knowingly provoke a very dangerous constitutional crisis". He notes that Romania's PM "is absolutely correct" that it is "unacceptable" to conduct such a referendum. Ambassador Gitenstein made the statement as Romania braces for a referendum late this month in which voters will be asked if they agree to remove President Basescu from office and debates are taking place on the constitutional and judicial framework of the referendum. The governing alliance hopes it would remove from office rival President Basescu - who was suspended by the Parliament on Friday.
Romania anti-graft prosecutors eye two Supreme Council of Magistrates members suspected of negotiating top jobs with new political leaders Investigators of Romania's National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) moved on the Supreme Council of Magistrates on Wednesday morning, targeting two prosecutors suspected of having negotiated with the country's prime minister the jobs of DNA chief prosecutor and Prosecutor General, according to judiciary sources quoted by Mediafax news agency. The DNA move comes the day when PM Victor Ponta leaves for Brussels where he is expected to explain his governing alliance's actions over the past two weeks to worried European officials.
Romania's Constitutional Court decides procedure to suspend President Basescu was constitutional. Crin Antonescu becomes interim president ​Romania's Constitutional Court announced late on Monday evening that the procedure to impeach President Traian Basescu last week was constitutional and that it found that an interim presidency in which Senate speaker Crin Antonescu takes over as head of state was justified. The Court analyzed five of seven cases in which decisions made during last week''s blitz procedures to impeach the president were challenged as "unconstitutional". The announcement came at the end of a day in which those procedures were subject of harsh criticism both at home and abroad.
Romanian MPs have voted: President Traian Basescu impeached A majority of Romanian MPs voted on Friday evening in favor of the impeachment of President Traian Basescu, at the end of a blitz series of procedures which the opponents of the governing alliance, many independent observers and EU voices described as breaching the rule of law and questioning the independence of Romanian justice and balance of power. Basescu now has to face a referendum in which - according to rules newly voted by the Parliament - a majority of active voters decides his dismissal of President.UPDATE A referendum where Romanian voters will be asked if they agree with the dismissal of President Traian Basescu will be organized on July 29, according to a proposed bill on the organization of the referendum, announced in the Parliament today.
Romania's Parliament convenes to suspend President. Traian Basescu: It is more important for governing alliance to take hold of all reigns of power including justice The Romanian Parliament convened on Friday afternoon to vote on a request to impeach President Traian Basescu. The votes of 217 members are needed to suspend the President, and the governing alliance of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL) hold by themselves 212 votes. The Constitutional Court issued an advisory ruling on the request earlier today, but gave no final ruling whether the arguments including in the impeachment request were valid. The vote comes as EU pressures intensify on USL, an alliance accused of threatening the rule of law. In his speech at the beginning of the Parliament session today, Basescu pointed out that, for USL, more important than his suspension the interest to take hold of all reigns of power, including justice.UPDATE 8.10 p.m. Parliamentary debates are over. Voting on President Basescu's impeachment has started UPDATE Senate speaker Crin Antonescu - a Liberal who is due to take over as interim President if Basescu is suspended, said he would witdraw from politics if Basescu is not dismissed in a referendum
Romania Parliament about to vote on impeachment of President Basescu as Constitutional Court gives unclear ruling on constitutionality of charges Romania braces for a vote in the Parliament late on Friday afternoon on the impeachment of President Traian Basescu. Prior to the parliamentary session, the Constitutional Court gave its advisory ruling on the request to suspend the President, but the ruling was not clear and both supporters and opponents of the head of state gave their own interpretation of it. The Friday afternoon events were preceded by an announcement of the Constitutional Court that one if its judges received "threats", by PM Victor Ponta's statement attempting to assure European countries that they should not worry about events in Romania, but also by an European Commission statement showing concern about these events.UPDATE The parliament session to suspend President Basescu started at 5 p.m.
International reactions on Romanian power struggles and worries about rule of law The European Commission might postpone its report on Romanian justice, which was due early next week the latest, because an analysis is needed on the impact of measures taken by Romania's Victor Ponta Government and the Parliament over Justice institutions, several European sources told HotNews.ro. The possibility comes as several European officials have taken stand on the turmoil in Romanian politics, where a government alliance-led attempt to oust President Traian Basescu raised question marks about the independence of Justice and other institutions.
Romania President Basescu says parliamentary call for his suspension involves governing alliance attempt to take over control of Justice, state institutions. He asks for referendum on single-chamber Parliament ​Romania President Traian Basescu held a speech in Parliament today following the reading of a governing alliance USL's request for his suspension. He said he would welcome a parliamentary procedure to suspend him, but questioned the constitutional validity of the current one and said it had four reasons: the USL will to take control over Justice, the USL will to take control of all state institutions, a will to not apply the results of a previous referendum when people opted for a single-Chamber, 300-member parliament and a "circumstantial" will to cover prime minister Victor Ponta's "European" reputation as a "copy-paste prime minister".
Romanian MPs give reading to request to suspend President Basescu. Vote to suspend him expected on Friday Romanian MPs convened in an extraordinary session on Thursday morning for the reading of a request to suspend President Traian Basescu. Basescu was present in the Parliament when the reading started. As the final debate and a vote on the request are scheduled for Friday, the President has the right to present his own point of view before the MPs.​Romanian MPs convened in an extraordinary session on Thursday morning for the reading of a request to suspend President Traian Basescu. Basescu was present in the Parliament when the reading started. As the final debate and a vote on the request are scheduled for Friday, the President has the right to present his own point of view before the MPs.
Romania's governing alliance launches procedure to suspend President Traian Basescu Romania's Parliament convened on Wednesday for a session to launch the procedures to suspend President Traian Basescu, as sources told HotNews.ro. Political sources also told hotNews.ro that the Government has adopted an emergency ordinance changing a law on the functioning of the Constitutional Court. In the afternoon, the ordinance was already published in the Official Gazette. And a spokesman for one of the parties in the governing alliance told a TV station that the suspension of the President might be voted in the Parliament on Friday.
OPINION ​A cry of helplessness In a short statement on Tuesday evening, at the end of a series hallucinatory events in the Parliament, Romanian President Traian Basescu addressed parliamentary party leaders Victor Ponta, Crin Antonescu, Daniel Constantin, Gabriel Oprea and Kelemen Hunor demanding them, repeatedly, “to immediately cease their actions against the institutions of the Romanian state.  Naming them, a rather unusual twist in his latest statements, looks more like a warning.
UPDATE Romania President Basescu demands PM Victor Ponta, governing alliance leaders to stop "actions against institutions" of Romanian state, which he says are in breach of European values Romania President holds a statement on Friday evening. He started his speech by demanding PM Victor Ponta, governing alliance leaders to stop "actions against institutions" of the Romanian state, which he says are in breach of European values. UPDATE He concluded his speech in just a few minutes. Read his statements in full
Viviane Reding is first top EU official to comment on Romanian Government's moves on Constitutional Court: I am seriously concerned about recent attacks on independence of Court "I am seriously concerned about recent attacks on the independence of the Constitutional Court of Romania," said European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding on Twitter on Tuesday. Her comments came as Romania's government has been pushing for changes at Constitutional Court level so that it allow new legislation that may help the governing alliance in its political struggles with President Traian Basescu.
UPDATE Romania's governing coalition launches massive moves on state institutions. Opposition decries "coup d'etat" and accuses accuses attacks on of Constitution and state of law. Senate Speaker dismissed, replaced with governing alliance leader. House speaker replaced as well Romania's governing alliance of Liberals and Social Democrats (USL) launched a massive series of moves on state institutions and key people in the Parliament, the Constitutional Court and the People's Lawyer (Ombudsman) on Tuesday. The moves fall in line with the phases of an action plan by USL - first presented by HotNews.ro in its Romanian version - to suspend President Traian Basescu, who the USL leaders see as the main obstacle in their taking over effective power in the country. Opposition leaders decried on Tuesday what they called a "coup d'etat" and a major attack on the Constitution and the state of law.UPDATE Romanian USL-dominated Senators voted on Tuesday to dismiss Senate Speaker Vasile Blaga. USL immediately pushed its leader Crin Antonescu as new Speaker.UPDATE 2 - 10.30 P.M. House Speaker Roberta Anastase - a member of Vasile Blaga-led Democratic Liberals (PDL), who support President Basescu - was also voted out of office by USL-dominated deputies on Tuesday evening. PSD immediately nominated deputy Valeriu Zgonea to be voted new House speaker.
US Ambassador to Romania says he is "concerned about any attempt to threaten" independence of Romania's democratic institutions "Manipulation or threats to your institutions particularly your courts will not only be of concern to our government but to the way Romania is viewed by financial markets", says US Ambassador to Romania Mark H. Gitenstein in a statement received by HotNews.ro. His statement comes as Romania's governing alliance of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL) have launched a series of moves on key people and institutions, including the Constitutional Court, which were described by USL political opponents, some media and commentators as "a coup d'etat" or attacks on the Constitution and the state of law.
OPINION The crooks’ revolution begins. The assault day All the information suggests that USL will force the President's suspension as soon as possible.  It is a matter of hours or of days at most.  From what I have learnt, Crin Antonescu dreams about moving in to Cotroceni Presidential Palace as soon as possible, possibly today.  Ponta and Antonescu are removing the Ombudsman [People's Lawyer], the judges from the Constitutional Court, the Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.  Vasile Blaga's replacement is a crucial move, because he is the second man in the state, and should the President of the country be suspended, the President of the Senate would become the interim at Cotroceni Presidential Palace. Very probably, Crin Antonescu will take Blaga's place.
UPDATE Scandal engulfs Victor Ponta's government as council studying plagiarism charges against Romanian PM is dismantled before verdict​. Council's verdict: Ponta involved in "copy-paste plagiarism case" A huge scandal involving accusations of plagiarism against Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta escalated on Friday. Sources told HotNews.ro a council checking the accusations that Ponta copied parts of his doctoral thesis from other works have found proof of plagiarism. But the council had just been dismissed in a complicated scheme of decisions that raised questions about compliance with the state of law under Ponta's 2-month old government. Ponta had said in an interview on Thursday that he would resign should accusations of plagiarism be proven.UPDATE The CNATDCU council of scholars has decided: Ponta was involved in "copy-paste plagiarism case"
Prime minister represents Romania at European Council for the first time. President Basescu says he didn't go to Brussels today to avoid an "awkward position" for Romania: "Romania is legitimately present, but illegitimately represented at European Council"​ Weeks of clashes between Romania's new prime minister Victor Ponta and President Traian Basescu over who should represent the country at the European Council came to a last minute conclusion on Thursday. Despite a Constitutional Court decision that going to the European Council was the President's job, Ponta went to Brussels anyway today and was admitted as Romania's representative. After a tense first half of day, President Basescu made press statements saying that he didn't go to Brussels in order to avoid "an awkward position" for Romania". And he said Romania was "legitimately present, but illegitimately represented at the European Council" this week.

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