Romania's interim President Crin Antonescu said on Tuesday he and his National Liberal Party would comply with a Constitutional Court earlier today allowing suspended President Traian Basescu return to office. But Antonescu said the Court decision was "unfair" for the 8.5 million people who voted in a referendum to dismiss Basescu and that he and his party would not recognize him politically, as Basescu "is an illegitimate president". Referring to a statement weeks ago that he would withdraw from politics should Basescu return to office, Antonescu said he would not do so considering the massive vote to dismiss Basescu.

UPDATE Crin Antonescu and other Liberal leaders said on Tuesday they would not exclude a new attempt to suspend President Basescu in the future.

UPDATE 2 PM Victor Ponta, a Social Democrat, also said on Tuesday the Court decision would be complied with, but called it "unfair" and "against democratic rules". He said he hoped the decision would put an end to the political crisis. But he said that his government considered the referendum to dismiss the president was "a success for those who believe in democracy" and that it was "clear that Traian Basescu would be an illegitimate president, a president of the Constitutional Court, while the government has the duty to be a government for citizens".

  • Crin Antonescu's statement came hours after the Constitutional Court decided to invalidate the July 29 referendum to dismiss President Traian Basescu, who had been suspended by the Parliament on grounds that he breached the Constitution. The governing alliance moved to suspend Basescu earlier this summer with a series of decisions that caused an uproar throughout Europe about the rule of law in Romania. In the referendum, a large majority of people who showed up to vote opted for Basescu to leave office. But a 50% plus one turnout threshold was not reached to validate the referendum. It took, however, almost a month for the Constitutional Court, under intense political pressure, to decide that the referendum was invalid.

Crin Antonescu, leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL, part of the governing USL alliance with the Social Liberals) took over as interim President throughout the period of Basescu's suspension as he had been named speaker of the Senate in the series of political moves that preceded the suspension.

Antonescu insisted in his speech on Tuesday that he and his party would comply with the Constitutional Court decision. But he called it "unfair" because it "ignored" the vote of 8.5 million citizens - a "real majority" of citizens. And he said the decision "ignored" the laws the Court itself referred to.

He said that while Basescu would "legally" become President again, "Traian Basescu is for us an illegitimate president whom we do not recognize politically".

"Today, from a bureaucratic perspective, the Basescu regime is forcing victory, the return of a man who lost legitimacy for the majority of Romanians", Antonescu said.

Referring to his statements several weeks ago that he would withdraw from politics should Basescu return to office, Antonescu said he would not do so because factually Basescu was dismissed.

And he said that "while we (Romania) are part of the EU and NATO, nobody can dictate in Romania as if in a colony". He made the statement as political struggles in Romania have caused concern and warnings from Brussels and other Western capitals about the compliance with the rule of law and compliance with principles of democracy.