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The fight over the judiciary

TRAIAN BASESCU, Romania’s president, has won a battle. But the political war between the head of state and the country’s prime minister is likely to continue. On August 21st the Constitutional Court declared invalid a referendum on Mr Basescu’s impeachment that was held on July 29th. Even though 88% of those who voted wanted Mr Basescu to go, the court ruled that the turnout was below the minimum 50% of registered voters required by the constitution.

In theory, Mr Basescu can now return to his duties. In practice, the majority in parliament will make it as hard as possible for the president to do his job. They can still play tricks, warns Sorin Ionita of Expert Forum, a think-tank in Bucharest.

Romania’s political crisis has dragged on for two months and is likely to intensify in the run-up to a parliamentary election in November. Crin Antonescu, leader of the National Liberal Party, who was the country’s interim president during Mr Basescu’s suspension, has said that his party is unwilling to cohabit with Mr Basescu after he returns to office. Victor Ponta, the prime minister, a close ally of Mr Antonescu’s, has also vowed to continue the fight with Mr Basescu until the president and his regime are removed.



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