Right after winning elections Traian Basescu insisted that there should follow early elections and the one-Chamber Parliament system should be adopted and then he insisted the government should get changed, but it was in vain. Then all of a sudden he has used one of his presidential prerogatives, claiming that the change of the voting system in Romania is necessary. He has asked for the adoption of the uninominal vote and he is seeking citizens' opinion on this account, without stating which precise model he is aiming to out of the various poll systems.
Consequently, confusion is widespread. There isn't a clear question that citizens will be asked in about a month's time. The idea of the uninominal vote, in its various stances, has been lately endorsed by all the parties that made it to the Parliament, except for the PD. There are some legislative attempts that have been brought to the attention of the Parliament. Mr. Basescu's opponents claim that the organizing of a referendum, without having a clear-cut question, risks compromising the project to adopt the uninominal vote.
Romania has recently been seized with unprecedented political crisis. The head of state has reached irreconcilable conflict with the Parliament. There has been set up a committee to investigate certain violations of the Constitution which Mr. Traian Basescu is guilty of. The parties in the opposition now in majority in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have actually expressed their intention to suspend the President at the end of the three weeks available for the committee. A few democratic exercises performed in the last couple of weeks have shown that, when procedures with anti-presidential outcome are launched, the parties represented in governmental structures share the opposition's views. There is one exception: the PD (Democrat Party), which is perceived as a presidential party.
All assessments lead to the idea that the validation of such a referendum will be impossible, since there won't be nine million citizens to go voting, as required by the law. There are many who consider that the President's calling for a referendum aims at delaying his suspension and, why not, the referendum for his dismissal. The fact that two referendums - one called by the President and the other one by the opposition, meant to dismiss him - are scheduled for the near future makes it impossible to hold elections for the European Parliament this spring, as provided by the governmental project. The poll will be moved to fall.
The crisis is much deeper. By claiming that the MPs are corrupted and that most of the Government is under the influence of groups representing illegitimate interests, Basescu himself accused of corruption - has triggered an institutional crisis between Presidency and Government, which ignited a third crisis, within the ruling Coalition, namely between the PD - practically led indirectly by himself -, the PNL (National Liberal Party) and the UDMR (Democrat Union of Magyars in Romania). The confrontations are mostly on TV, causing themselves deep divisions within civil society. The "apple of discord" is Justice Minister Monica Macovei, supported by the President and the Democrat Party. Abroad she is seen as a champion of the fight against corruption, while the overwhelming majority of the politicians and civil society in Romania have accused her of making Justice politically subordinate and causing unprecedented mess in the system. The Association of Magistrates has accused her of serious infringements of human rights and civil liberties. The crisis in Bucharest can compromise Romania's efforts to integrate in the structures of the EU.