US Ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein says in a statement issued on Wednesday that a referendum in Romania "which appears inconsistent with the Constitution" would "knowingly provoke a very dangerous constitutional crisis". He notes that Romania's PM "is absolutely correct" that it is "unacceptable" to conduct such a referendum.

  • Ambassador Gitenstein made the statement as Romania braces for a referendum late this month in which voters will be asked if they agree to remove President Basescu from office and debates are taking place on the constitutional and judicial framework of the referendum. The governing alliance hopes it would remove from office rival President Basescu - who was suspended by the Parliament on Friday and replaced as interim president by Crin Antonescu.

US Ambassador's statement in full

Prime Minister Ponta has called on the Romanian Parliament to promptly convene an extraordinary session to bring the laws on the July 29 referendum into compliance with the most recent ruling of the Constitutional Court. The leaders of both chambers of Parliament should take prompt action.

The Prime Minister is absolutely correct that it is unacceptable to conduct a referendum which appears inconsistent with the Constitution. To do so would knowingly provoke a very dangerous constitutional crisis.

Both the Prime Minister and the Acting President have repeated to me their public commitment to respect all rulings of the Constitutional Court. Prime Minister Ponta has upheld this commitment by asking the Parliament to act. I am confident that Acting President Antonescu will do the same by signing a referendum law consistent with the Constitutional Court decision as soon as it reaches his desk.

If it becomes apparent that the Parliament is unwilling or unable to convene and act immediately, then the Government should take executive action to ensure that the organization and conduct of the referendum are fully consistent with the most recent Constitutional Court ruling on the referendum.