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March 2, 2021
POLITICS

Philip Gordon: “We continue to closely watch Romania”

Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said at the end of last week that he is aware that some politicians want to hold a new referendum to topple President Traian Basescu, but constitutional procedures must be observed. “Obviously, we continue to watch it (Romania) closely. I know some in Romania have thoughts of organizing another referendum, finding other ways to get rid of the President. It needs to be underscored again that constitutional procedures need to be followed. If the President is unpopular and his presidency doesn’t reflect the popular will of the people, then a free and fair and democratic election is the way to address that. And if that’s the way Romania moves forward, I think its credibility as a strong democracy and partner for the United States will only continue to rise, » the US official said.The remark was delivered during a press briefing, when the US official answered the question asked by a journalist about what Romania should do in the future, to regain confidence, and whether Washington is still concerned with the situation in Romania.“Our concern in that particular case had to do, as you well know, with efforts to overturn the apparent results of a referendum on impeaching the President. And while we were and are very careful not to be interfering in Romanian internal affairs, we wanted to be clear that the world, the international community, would not find it legitimate if the voting procedures were changed after the referendum was held, and in contradiction to what the constitutional court ruled. We underscored how important it was to respect any ruling from the constitutional court, and that that was a test of the credibility of Romania’s democracy. And I’m pleased to be able to say that that is what the government ended up doing. Notwithstanding what we heard about potential fraudulent votes and deliberations about potentially refusing to accept a ruling of the court, the court ruled, the voter lists that were originally used were respected, and the ousted president was reinstated according to the rule of law. And that’s the right outcome.” Gordon mentioned.According to the US official, these evolutions show that Romania is a mature democracy, which is “a very positive thing.”“I think it’s probably right to say that Romania earned credibility in the eyes of the United States, and I think in the eyes of its European partners, by following the rule of law, even when that went against the short-term interests of those who were holding power during that interim period. That’s a sign of a maturing democracy, and I think a very positive thing,” Gordon commented.Last week, the State Department official said the US Administration is pleased because Bucharest keeps its commitment to observe the decisions of the Constitutional Court.Gordon was in Bucharest at the middle of August, “in part to discuss our concerns about internal developments there.” On that occasion, he met then suspended president Traian Basescu, then interim president Crin Antonescu, PM Victor Ponta and representatives of the civil society.Lower Chamber Secretary Georgian Pop (PSD) stated on Monday that the issue of organizing a new impeachment referendum is outdated. Pop pointed out that this is his personal opinion and admitted that Gordon, from his clearance level, can express his opinion about “certain things.” On the on the other hand, he underlined that Romania’s relation with the US has to be permanently consolidated, being of the opinion that Romania should look at any statements made by American officials with realism and objectivity. PDL First Vice President Cristian Preda considers that “in Romania an impeachment is possible at any time, like rain.” “In Romania an impeachment is possible at any time, it’s like rain. The impeachment has ended up being similar to weather phenomena,” Cristian Preda stated after PDL’s Permanent National Bureau (BPN) meeting.

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