Oh my lord, well as best as I tried to predict what would happen next in this crazy world we call politics in Romania, I failed to call this one.
On Wednesday, the BEC (national electoral board) sent the final, official count of the votes to the CCR (Constitutional Court). The CCR met Wednesday evening and the next step is for them to render a judgement on whether the referendum was valid or not.
On July 29, the MAI (Interior Ministry) had sent an official document to the CCR saying that there were 18.3 million Romanians legally eligible to vote. Since less than half of them voted (8.46 million) it seemed like it would be a piece of cake for the CCR to declare the referendum invalid since less than 50% + 1 of eligible voters participated.
Not so. The CCR meeting on Wednesday ran so long that they carried it over until Thursday (today). All political parties were on a knife’s edge, wondering what the result would be. All sides declared they were confident that the CCR would do the right thing.
CCR meets Thursday morning – then Thursday afternoon – finally just a few minutes ago they drop the bomb on the press – the final decision on the validity of the referendum will be pushed back until September 12. Yep, that’s right. It means everything currently in effect, Basescu suspended, Antonescu “interim” president, etc, will all be frozen in place until September 12.
According to the press report, Aspazia Cojocaru, an older member of the court and former colleague of (jailed former PM) Nastase said the whole thing should be “annulled” because all of the data provided to the court are “false”.
This story is just coming out but apparently the 6-week delay is to that the CCR can get more accurate information – exactly who voted (and who voted legally, not by fraudulent means) and exactly how many Romanians (worldwide) have the right to vote.
In case you haven’t figured out by my graphic above, it seems the key player here is Ioan Rus, the longtime PSD member (and personal buddy of Nastase), currently the Interior Minister, who now says that the MAI can’t be “quite sure” that the previously submitted total of 18.3 million eligible voters is accurate.
So now all parties, the BEC, the MAI and the INS (in charge of the census – now with two Ponta appointees running the show) have six weeks to jigger their figures or juke the stats so that the CCR can re-convene on September 12 and deliver their verdict based upon “real” numbers.
Until then, Romania remains rudderless, all this at a time when a growing drought threatens to destroy the harvest and the IMF is beginning to get angry with how the Romanian Central Bank is using reserve funds to prop up the sagging currency.
God have mercy on us all.