BUCHAREST, Romania — Traian Basescu returned to the presidency on Wednesday (May 23rd) after the Constitutional Court formally validated the results of the May 19th impeachment referendum. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Parliament’s decision to dismiss Basescu last month for alleged constitutional violations. In his first statement since returning to the job, Basescu announced that his priorities for the second part of his mandate would be the introduction of a majority voting system, amendments to the constitution and major projects in healthcare and education.
Basescu’s return to office has been marred by a controversy surrounding an offensive remark he made in private at the weekend. Basescu called TV reporter Andreea Pana a “stinking Gypsy” after she tried to take his picture with her cell phone and ask him a question Saturday, the day of the referendum. Though he apologised, the National Council for Combating Discrimination issued him a citation Wednesday for making offensive and discriminating remarks. The comment was recorded by Pana’s phone. (Evenimentul Zilei – 24/05/07; Rompres, Bloomberg, BBC – 23/05/07)