Romanian President Traian Basescu issued a presidential order this weekend withdrawing a top distinction from far-right leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Tudor, head of the Greater Romania Party (PRM) had received the “Star of Romania” National Order from Basescu’s predecessor, Ion Iliescu, before he left office in December 2004.

Basescu’s order today was countersigned by prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

The decision to withdraw the distinction from Corneliu Vadim Tudor was made by the Order’s Honorary Council after C.V.T. refused to apologize publicly for the havoc he and his supporters created in the Parliament when a solemn session to condemn communism was held several months ago.

Iliescu’s decision to honor C.V. Tudor in such a way sparked a huge wave of public indignation in December 2004, given the politician’s reputation as a leader of the populist far-right. Iliescu argued at the time that Vadim was worth the honor for his “contribution to legislative activities and the adoption of fundamental laws necessary for the development of the country”.

That prompted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, who had received the same honor in July 2002, to return the “Star of Romania” as he said he couldn’t be part of a group that C.V. Tudor also belonged to.