The Romanian Parliament on Tuesday approved a proposal to set May 19, 2007 as the date for the referendum where voters are expected to decide whether suspended President Traian Basescu stays in office or not. MPs rejected to other alternatives - May 13 and May 20 - with a large majority today.

The two dates were suggested as they’re on Sundays and May 19 on a Saturday, in a country where votes are always taking place on Sunday.

As a matter of coincidence, May 19 falls on what is called in the Romanian-language versions of the Greek-Catholic calendar the Saint Patriciu’s Day.

Dinu Patriciu, an oil mogul who heads the Rompetrol group, is a well known friend of Liberal Romanian PM and Basescu’s rival Calin Popescu Tariceanu and an electoral supporter of the opposition Social Democrats, who initiated the procedures to suspend Basescu.

The decision today comes after the permanent boards of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament submitted the May 19 date in talks on Monday, considering the 30-day deadline for such a referendum to take place after the head of state is suspended.

The referendum campaign starts when the date is announced in the Official Gazette will end 48 hours before the date of the referendum.