Romanian President Traian Basescu, who was suspended by the Parliament and faced a referendum to remove him from office earlier this summer, returned to Presidency on Tuesday after a Constitutional Court decision that the referendum was invalid was published in the Official Gazette on Monday evening.
A timeline of the events that led Romania to a major political crisis over the past several months:
- April 2012 - A center-right government supported by/supporting President Traian Basescu falls following a censure motion submitted in the Parliament by the center-left opposition USL alliance formed of Social Democrats (PSD), Liberals (PNL) and small but influential Conservative Party (PC) founded by media owner, former Securitate collaborator Dan Voiculescu. Traian Basescu names PSD leader Victor Ponta prime minister, Ponta forms his own government
- May 2012 - The Parliament's vote of support for the Ponta Government
- June 2012 - Parliament charges Victor Ponta, at his request, to represent Romania to EU summits, a move that marks the beginning of the battle with Traian Basescu, who as President used to represent Romania at major international summits. The Constitutional Court says Basescu as head of state was due to represent Romania at the European Council, but Ponta leaves for Brussels despite the Court's opinion.
- July 2012 - The USL governing alliance revokes the speakers of the two chambers of the Parliament and the Ombudsman in an extraordinary session. The Constitutional Court denounces the government's "unprecedented" attacks and the European Commission and the US criticize the situation in Romania. The government adopts an emergency ordinance diminishing 1the attributes of the Constitutional Court. A day later, on July 6, the Parliament votes with a large majority for the suspension of the President. The Constitutional Court then validates the suspension and Liberal leader Crin Antonescu is named interim president. The EU urges Ponta to reinstate the Constitutional Court powers, which USL agrees to. The EU accuses Romania of shaking its trust and announces a stronger supervision of Justice and rule of law in Romania until the end of the year. On July 29, a referendum to dismiss suspended President Traian Basescu takes place, but not enough people show up to vote to meet the necessary turnout threshold.
- August 2012 - Political battles continue for weeks with pressure on the Constitutional Court as it was due to validate or invalidate the referendum. The Court eventually decides that the referendum was invalid because of the low turnout rate. Almost a week of more political struggles later, the Court decision is read in the Parliament and published in the Official Gazette on Monday, August 27. In the morning of August 28, President Basescu returns to Presidency.