Romanian president Basescu challenges new law on referendum

Romanian President Traian Basescu today lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, over the amendments brought to the law on referendum by the three party-ruling coalition (USL), Basescu’s political arch-rival.

On 10 September, the Chamber of Deputies passed the new law on referendum which diminishes the turnout threshold to merely 30 per cent, despite the President’s request the law is revised and the initial 50 per cent limit is maintained.

The Presidency says in its complaint the new turnout limit of 30 per cent encroaches upon the Constitutional provisions which say “the premise of a democratic expression of sovereignty through the people can only be ensured through the participation in a referendum of the majority of citizens which is half plus one of the persons registered on the permanent electoral lists”

In its notification, the Presidency also reminds the Constitutional Court ruled in 2012 that “an essential condition a referendum can truly and effectively express the will of the citizens” is that an absolute majority is met, namely half plus one of the registered voters.

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(Photo: European Council/