Democracy or demagogy?
WHO says politicians don't earn their wages? Romania's political class may not be greatly beloved by the people, but nobody can fault them for energy and ingenuity. On July 4th the centre-left coalition government filed a motion in Parliament to impeach President Traian Băsescu on grounds of violating the constitution and overstepping his authority. Mr Băsescu told Parliament that by suspending him, the coalition was in effect seizing control over the judicial system and public institutions. The ruling coalition, of Social Democrats and Liberals, had passed a law earlier this week to ease the impeachment procedure. They had also replaced the heads of both chambers of Parliament, (both allies of Mr Băsescu) with politicians close to the Prime Minister, Victor Ponta. One ally, the Liberal leader Crin Antonescu, was appointed president of the Senate. That move will make him the country’s interim president if Mr Băsescu is suspended. In another important move, an emergency ordinance shifted control of the Official Gazette, a bulletin that gives formal publication to laws and regulations, from parliamentary to government. Civil society groups are concerned that this could enable instant lawmaking. Details...

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