Dozens of representatives of Romania’s cultural elite launched an appeal to express their “deep concern about the political situation in the country” on Monday, warning that some authorities are trying to dodge or break the principles and practices of democracy and state of law.

Even more serious, they say, is the fact that such attempts have the cover of the law, as the Constitution is “forcefully interpreted” and laws and decisions with a “disputable legitimacy” are adopted.

Their message comes two weeks before a referendum where voters are invited to decide whether suspended President Traian Basescu remains in office or is removed. The referendum was called by Basescu’s opponents in the Parliament, after they suspended him for alleged breaches of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court had found their charges to be unfounded.

“Despite there are only few days to go until May 19, the date of the referendum, it is worrisome that the rules of the vote were changed in the last minute. This breaches a recommendation of the Venice Commission that calls for referendum-related laws not to be changed for at least a year prior to any referendum”, the appeal says.

It also slams a decision by a parliamentary commission to not give suspended President Basescu any air time for his referendum campaign as well as moves by the “current PSD-PNL-UDMR-PRM-PC parliamentary majority [formed of most parliamentary parties, in power and in opposition] to try and modify the rules of the referendum after the suspension procedure had begun.

”We remind you that the communist state also had many laws and offered legal cover for all abuses and crimes, but that did not mean those laws were legitimate”, the appeal says.

The appeal is signed by Raluca Alexandrescu, Sorin Alexandrescu, Dragos Paul Aligica, Ioana Alimanesteanu, Liviu Antonesei, Catalin Avramescu, Adriana Babeti, Hannelore Baier, Victor Barsan, Radu Bercea, Mihnea Berindei, Rodica Binder, Corin Braga, Maria Bucur, Ioan Buduca, Radu Carp, Al.

Calinescu, Matei Calinescu, Mircea Cartarescu, Ruxandra Cesereanu, Livius Ciocarlie, Eugen Ciurtin, Andrei Codrescu, Andrei Cornea, Paul Cornea, Aurelian Craiutu, Anca Crivat, S.

Damian, Dennis Deletant, Peter Demeny, Simona Dimitriu, Vasile Docea, Eugenia Duta, Constantin Eretescu, Radu Filipescu, Florin Gabrea, Tom Gallagher, Radu Pavel Gheo, Sanda Golopentia, Armand Gosu, Stere Gulea, Petre Iancu, Anca Domnica Ilea, Daniel Ilea, Marian Ilea, Sorin Iliesiu, Gelu Ionescu, Rudy Gheorghe Kleckner, Simone Kleckner-Vrabiescu, Cristian Lascu, Alexandru Lazescu, Gabriel

Liiceanu, Monica Lovinescu, Siliviu Lupascu, Angela Marinescu, Adrian Mihalache, Alexandra Mihalcea, Florian Mihalcea, Mircea Mihaies, Mihaela Miroiu, Mihail Neamtu, Eugen Negrici, Virgil Nemoianu, Ioana Nicolaie, Adrian Niculescu, Alexandru Niculescu, Andrei Oisteanu, Anca Oroveanu, Rodica Palade, Serban Papacostea, Dana Papadima, Andrei Partos, Horia-Roman Patapievici, Ioana Parvulescu, Ovidiu

Pecican, Horatiu Pepine, Dan Perjovschi, Lia Perjovschi, Andrei Plesu, Catrinel Popa, Dumitru Radu Popa, Radu Preda, Tania Radu, Nestor Rates, Serban Radulescu-Zoner, Liviu Rotman, Vlad Russo, Lavinia Stan, Mariuca Stanciu, Ioan Stanomir, Elena Supiur, Anca Sincai, Mihai Sora, Dan Tapalaga, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Traian Ungureanu, Andrei Ursu, Cristian Vasile, Vasile Astarastoae, Anca Vasiliu,

Ion Vianu, Sorin Vieru, Daniel Vighi, Smaranda Vultur, Felicia Waldman, Christina Zarifopol-Illias, Vlad Zografi, Alexandru Zub.