Romania MPs urge president to quit after brother`s arrest

Romania`s parliament on Wednesday called on President Traian Basescu to step down after his brother was arrested for accepting bribes from a mobster.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 25, 2014, 17:10 PM IST

Bucharest: Romania`s parliament on Wednesday called on President Traian Basescu to step down after his brother was arrested for accepting bribes from a mobster.

A total of 344 MPs out of 588 voted in favour of a non-binding declaration saying that Basescu`s resignation was crucial to restore "Romania`s credibility."

Basescu -- who has made fighting corruption a centrepiece of his leadership -- has been left red-faced after both his brother and son-in-law were slapped with graft charges.

Seventeen lawmakers abstained from Wednesday`s vote while MPs from two centre-right parties backing Basescu did not take part.

"President Basescu can no longer guarantee the prestige, the independence and the legitimacy of the presidential office," lawmakers said.

"That is why we urge him to resign immediately," they added, blasting the implication of the president`s brother in an "extremely serious graft case."

But Basescu has already ruled out standing down, saying he was determined to pursue his term "to the last day."

His term comes to an end after a presidential election in November.

The president`s younger brother Mircea was taken into custody on Friday accused of taking a 250,000-euro ($340,000) bribe to intercede on behalf of a crime boss, Sandu Anghel, on trial for attempted murder.

Anti-graft prosecutors allege he used his ties to the president to convince Anghel that he could get the charges dropped. Anghel was ultimately sentenced to eight years and nine months in jail by the Supreme Court in May.

Basescu told a press conference on Monday he had never interfered in judiciary proceedings and denied any knowledge of the bribes.

To add to his woes it emerged this week his lawyer son-in-law Radu Pricop was being probed for the alleged use of forged documents to obtain multi-million-euro damages for property seized under Romania`s former Communist regime.