Romaniaís president, Traian Basescu, has escaped the ignominy of an impeachment by a hairís breadth after a public referendum seeking support for the move was nullified because of a low voter turnout. But it is significant that almost 80 per cent of the votes favoured the drastic step and somewhat vindicated the stand of the prime minister, Victor Ponta, that the president ought to go for overstepping his constitutional authority. In the days to come, Mr Ponta is bound to claim this as his victory while Mr Basescu claims the low voter turnout as an expression of public support for him. Both may be misinterpreting the anger and despondence that lie behind the massive boycott of the referendum. Witness to months of mudslinging between the prime minister and the president, both of whom are equally responsible for steering the ship of State, the people of the country seem to be losing hope in the power of democracy to alter their state of being. They have seen Mr Basescu promote cronyism besides unilaterally imposing austerity measures to match up to the diktats of the international funders. They have also seen Mr Ponta misuse his powers and undermine the independence of the judiciary. Mr Pontaís moves, coming on the heels of the allegation of plagiarism against him, have drawn the attention of the European Union for their grossness. Given that Romania, the second poorest member of the Union, remains beholden to its European funders, the EU has been able to impose a sense of decorum in the ego tussle between the two executive heads. But unless Mr Ponta and Mr Basescu themselves realize what is at stake, they may find it difficult to restrain themselves.
Together with the rest of the EUís members, Romania is likely to see some tough times ahead as the world economy plunges further downwards. If the politics of the European nations are any proof, the Romanian leaders should know that unless they act in unison, they will be able to secure neither their own future nor that of their people.