World Bulletin/News Desk
Romania's President Traian Basescu will probably be impeached in a referendum later this month, an opinion poll showed on Sunday, setting the stage for months of political battles that could further unnerve markets.
The ruling Social Liberal Union (USL) of leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta suspended Basescu on Friday saying he had overstepped his powers. An impeachment referendum will take place on July 29.
An opinion survey conducted by pollster IMAS for local radio station Europa FM showed 64.3 percent of Romanians would vote to impeach Basescu, who is widely unpopular for backing austerity measures, including salary cuts and a rise in sales tax.
But Romania's Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Monday on a government attempt to change the referendum rules, which could have a crucial effect on Basescu's fate.
The government wants to change how many votes are needed to impeach Basescu, from a majority of the whole electorate to a majority of those who actually vote.
Ponta's cabinet has taken series of steps that the European Union, United States and other Western nations say have threatened the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in the EU's second-poorest country.
The prime minister also faces charges of plagiarism, which have drawn calls for him to step down.
The Council of Europe has asked constitutional experts to examine Basescu's suspension.
The political uncertainty in the country - Ponta is Romania's third prime minister this year and international criticism have sent the leu currency to a record low and pushed borrowing costs higher.
"As things stand, Basescu will most likely be impeached, although international criticism may push more Romanians to vote for him," said political commentator Mircea Marian.
"Widespread criticism abroad is the biggest thorn for the government right now."
IMF in focus
The government had a long list of reasons for suspending Basescu, including what it said was his attempt to pressure judges and break the constitution. Basescu said the charges against him were political and an attempt by Ponta to take control of the judiciary.
Impeaching Basescu would mean Romania would have to elect a new president in the autumn as well as holding a parliamentary election, which will stall policies and raise expenditure as it tries to keep an International Monetary Fund-led deal on track.
The 5 billion euro ($6.15 billion) IMF agreement is important to maintain investor confidence, particularly as the euro zone debt crisis rages.
The president is in charge of the country's foreign policy and nominates the prime minister.
Although the role is in part-ceremonial, Basescu was able to influence the previous government's austerity policies because of his close links to the centre-right Democrat-Liberal Party (PDL), which led that government.
If the Constitutional Court, which has accused the USL of trying to dismantle it, rules against the government's referendum rule change, Basescu would almost certainly survive. But the government has also passed an emergency decree backing the law and it is uncertain if that will also be challenged.
If the government and court end up in conflict over the decree, it will almost certainly spark another wave of criticism from the court and the European Union. The government denies it is endangering the rule of law and says it is sticking to the deal with the IMF, which will review Romania later this month.
About 27 percent of Romanians would vote in favour of Basescu, while roughly 8 percent were undecided, the opinion poll showed. Romanians working abroad, who have backed Basescu in previous elections, were not included in the survey.
Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late on Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening.
The lawsuit called for banning all Israeli activities in Egypt, shutting down the Israeli embassy and offices in Cairo, and designating Israel a "terrorist state."
In Lebanon, the post of president must be filled by a Maronite Christian for a term of six years, according to the country's national charter.
An Egyptian court sentenced 119 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood of former president Mohamed Mursi to three years each in prison
NATO fighter aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region, allied ships will deploy to the Baltic sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere
The men on top of the troop carriers were armed with Kalashnikov rifles, grenade launchers, knives and pistols Ukrainian city of Slaviansk. Dozens of masked pro-Russian separatists have seized control of the city hall in Donetsk demanding a referendum
One Afghan police officer and Hafiz Mahfuz, an important Taliban leader, have been killed in a gunfight during which four Taliban members were captured alive.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya was sanctioned alongside its chairman and largest shareholder Yuri Kovalchuk over Russia's annexation of Crimea.
"The Royal Airforce destroyed a number of military vehicles which tried to cross the Jordanian-Syrian border," state television said
Amnesty International report said Roma in France are often "forcibly evicted from their shelters, harassed by the police or other citizens and sometimes attacked".
Cabinet ministers have been asked to go out into Mogadishu's 16 districts to get closer to communities and rebuild trust in government in the hope the public will expose suspected rebels
On April 12, the pro-Russian Crimean parliament produced a new constitution officially declaring the peninsula as part of Russia following a referendum in mid-March, in which the vast majority of voters opted to join Russia. The 300,000 Turkic-speaking Muslim Crimean Tatars, who make up 13% of the Crimean population, for the most part boycotted the referendum as they deemed it illegal.
Only around one in 200 citizens files income tax, leaving the state begging foreign donors to help fund crumbling public schools and hospitals.
Kremlin-backed leaders nationalise Ukrainian state assets but secession causes chaos in banks, courts, business as Crimea sets Jan. 1 deadline to integrate with Russia
Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and 130 co-defendants are accused of involvement in a mass jailbreak during Egypt's 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.