The Government is pushing an ordinance postponing European elections due to take place in Romania this year despite key ministers refused to approve of the bill, initiated by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu as political tensions have been escalating in Bucharest.

President Traian Basescu said in a press conference today that he disagreed with Tariceanu’s move.

Tariceanu, a Liberal, took responsibility for the ordinance on Monday afternoon after Interior minister Vasile Blaga, a Democrat, said he would not countersign it. Another member of the Government representing the Democratic camp, Justice minister Monica Macovei, also failed to approve the ordinance in due time.

In these circumstances, Tariceanu - whose Liberals have been clashing with the Democratic partners for months - opted to send the bill for publication in the Official Gazette with only his signature and that of the head of the Electoral Authority on it.

That comes despite President Traian Basescu and his Democratic supporters have been insisting that the European elections, in which Romanians are to elect their representatives in the European Parliament, are of national interest and should take place as previously established on May 13. Tariceanu wants them postponed until the second half of the year.

In an afternoon press statement, President Traian Basescu said he could not see the validity of Tariceanu’s arguments. And he said he tried to alleviate political tensions by offering not to call for a referendum before or on May 13 this year, so that the European elections take place as planned.

The planned referendum eyes the introduction of the uninominal votes in Romanian elections. It has been the subject of intense clashes between the President and his Democratic supporters, PM Tariceanu and his Liberals, and the main opposition parties respectively for weeks.

The President said he regretted Romania has yet to legitimize its representatives in the European Parliament. But he said that while crises exist between political parties and institutions, all state institutions were functioning and one could not speak of a general political crisis.