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Vote to impeach Romania's president

Romanian MPs have voted overwhelmingly to impeach president Traian Basescu on grounds that he overstepped his authority by meddling in government business and legal affairs.

The vote of 256-114 in parliament came as the European Union expressed concern about rule of law in the country.

Senate speaker Crin Antonescu said a referendum will now be organised to allow voters to decide whether Mr Basescu should be ousted from the presidency, which he has held since 2004.

Mr Basescu addressed MPs and denied accusations of authoritarianism.

The impeachment vote comes as he and prime minister Victor Ponta are engaged in a bitter power struggle.

Mr Basescu was impeached in 2007 but survived a referendum on the issue.

His popularity has declined steeply in the past two years.

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From Belfast Telegraph