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Romania Interior minister resigns accusing pressure from suspended president and interim president

de V.O.
Luni, 6 august 2012, 12:30 English | Top News

Romania's Interior and Administration minister Ioan Rus announced his resignation on Monday accusing pressure from both suspended President Traian Basescu and interim President Crin Antonescu. His resignation comes amid continuing political turmoil as Romania still waits for a final result of the June 29 referendum to dismiss President Basescu because of disputes on the voter lists used in the poll.

Ioan Rus, a member of the Social Democrats, also said another member of the Government, Liberal minister in charge with Administration Victor Paul Dobre, asked him to announce his resignation as well. Dobre later confirmed for news agency Mediafax that he resigned "on personal grounds", saying he would comment more "some other time".

Rus said that local elections earlier this year were organized correctly, using electoral lists comprising some 18,315,000 Romanian voters. And he said that shortly after the elections, in order to be used for the referendum to dismiss the president, the lists were cleaned up and the number of listed voters dropped by some 21,000 people.

The resignation comes as the governing coalition led by PM Victor Ponta - head of Rus' Social Democratic Party (PSD) - and Interim president Crin Anonescu, a Liberal, has been pushing for a recognition that suspended President Traian Basescu was dismissed with the support of a large  majority of voters in the June 29 referendum.

But the referendum came short of reaching the 50% turnout threshold needed for the poll to be validated, as Basescu had urged Romanians not to support the moves to remove him from power, moves he described as a "coup d'etat".

In the wake of the referendum, the Constitutional Court was due to give its verdict on the validity of the poll. It it postponed a decision in this regard last week, calling for the updated lists of voters.

The governing coalition understood the request as a call for a sort of "mini-census" in which the voters lists should be updated in a matter of weeks. But the Constitutional Court on Monday - several days after its initial call - said it did not want new, updated lists, but the latest update of the lists of voters, which was supposed to be submitted shortly after the date of the referendum was announced.

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