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Romania president faces impeachment poll

Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said he would accept that a referendum his governing coalition had sought to remove the country’s president was invalidated by a low turnout, in spite of a heavy majority of votes cast against the head of state.

The declaration on Monday appeared to bring to an end, for now, the power struggle between Romania’s governing coalition and president that has raised international concerns over democracy and rule of law in one of the European Union’s newest and poorest members, and sent its currency to a record low.

But with Mr Ponta claiming a strengthened mandate for his leftist government to pursue its own policies, the result could be lengthy deadlock and trench warfare between the rival camps before and after parliamentary elections in November.

Mr Ponta insisted that his arch-rival, the president, had been undermined by the outcome, with 8m Romanians voting against Traian Basescu – more than the 5m who had re-elected him as president for a second term in 2009. The president, he added, had to change his behaviour and work more closely with the government.

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