Romanian President Traian Basescu said in a televised speech on Friday evening that he would not resign from office following his suspension by the Parliament yesterday. He had previously said that if suspended, he would resign “within five minutes”, but failed to make a stand on his promise until today.

His decision today comes two hours after the Constitutional Court admitted that Senate speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu take over as interim head of state.

Basescu said that had he resigned the political crisis would have accentuated in July-August, that is, not long before the European elections due to take place in autumn.

A referendum is due to take place within weeks where Romanian voters are due to decide whether Basescu should be removed from office or not.

Basescu said his decision not to resign as promised was based on his option to put the national interest before political interests.