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Final vote count in referendum to dismiss Romania president: 46.24% of listed voters cast their ballots, less than 50% threshold needed to validate poll

de V.O.
Miercuri, 1 august 2012, 12:49 English | Top News

Voter turnout in the Sunday referendum, in which Romanians were asked if they agreed to dismiss President Traian Basescu, stood at 46,24%, according to final figures released by the Central Electoral Office on Wednesday morning. The percentage comes short of the threshold of 50% of listed voters needed for the referendum to be validated. Also on Wednesday, the Constitutional Court is due to convene for a decision whether to validate or invalidate de referendum, with the governing alliance which pushed for Basescu's impeachment now claiming that the participation threshold was exceeded, considering what they call the real number of Romanian voters.

The US Embassy to Bucharest issued a statement on Wednesday saying the Constitutional Court "must be allowed to make a principled decision independently and without any outside interference".

According to the final data from the Central Electoral Office, 87,52% of people who cast their ballot in the Sunday referendum voted in favor of dismissing the President, with 11.15% voting against it. But the total number of active voters failed to exceed the threshold of 50% of the total number of voters in Romania, according to official voters lists.

Since Monday, representatives of the governing coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals (USL), including PM Victor Ponta and interim President Crin Antonescu, have been claiming that enough Romanians showed up to vote for the referendum to be fundamentally valid.

And some USL representatives have been claiming that according to data from the latest census - which show a drop in the number of Romanian citizens - as well as other data the 50% threshold has been reached. But the census data are not yet official and do not thoroughly cover segments such as Romanians living abroad.

Meanwhile, Basescu's Democratic Liberal (PDL) political supporters have been claiming irregularities such as multiple voting by means of supplementary lists of voters in polling stations in the Sunday referendum.

The Constitutional Court discusses the results of the referendum in a session on Wednesday. For the referendum to be validated, six of the nine Court judges have to support such a decision.

In its statement today, the US Embassy says "the [Constitutional] court and the parliament established very clear rules last month as to how the referendum was to be conducted.  The issue before the court now is whether these rules were complied with. The Court must be allowed to make a principled decision independently and without any outside interference. It is essential that the Romanian people have confidence that the referendum was free and fair and that these rules have been enforced."

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