Romania's Parliament on April 19 suspended President Traian Basescu on charges of abuse of power. The measure was passed with a large majority (322 voting for, 108 against, and 10 abstentions) at the end of a heated debate during a joint session of both chambers of Parliament.
The suspension procedure proposed by the opposition Social Democrats was supported by the governing Liberal Party (PNL), Basescu’s former ally. The PNL has repeatedly accused Basescu of interference in the government's business, while the former communists, grouped in several parties, have been uneasy about the president's drive against corruption.
The crisis has been perceived by the Romanian public as a personal dispute between Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
In a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, Tariceanu, who is also the PNL leader, fired all ministers belonging to Basescu's center-left Democratic Party (PD), and formed a minority government with the ethnic Hungarian UDMR party. The government is supported in parliament by the PSD.
The President’s suspension opens the way for a national referendum on Basescu's impeachment within 30 days. During this period Senate Speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu will be acting President.