BUCHAREST, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The Sunday referendum to impeach head of state is most likely to be invalid, as the turnout is below the required minimum of 50 percent, according to the first partial results announced Monday by the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).
Turnout in the referendum on President Traian Basescu's dismissal was 46.13 percent, announced BEC President Gabriela Bogasiu after tabulation of 97.52 percent of polling stations.
According to Bogasiu, among those who came to vote, 7,264,819 voters, or 87.55 percent, said "yes" for dismissal of the president, while 923,147 voters, or 11.12 percent, voted against.
"A president elected by 5 million votes whom some 8 million Romanians no longer want in office should reflect more seriously about this vote and decide how legitimate he is to represent Romania," said Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
"The president is politically dismissed," said the prime minister.
"Out of 18 million registered enfranchised Romanians, nearly 3 million live abroad; there are one million and a half Romanian citizens of Hungarian ethnicity that preferred to sit the referendum out, so an overwhelming majority of enfranchised Romanians who are in Romania voted in a certain way in the referendum," Ponta said.
A national referendum was held Sunday between 7:00 (0500 GMT) and 23:00 (2100 GMT), for ousting Basescu.
According to the referendum law, the president is dismissed with 50 percent plus one vote of those voting and the referendum is considered valid if the turnout is 50 percent plus one citizen from the permanent electoral lists.
This is the second time that Basescu goes through an impeachment referendum, after he survived the popular consultation organized on May 19, 2007.
Basescu did not go to the polling station and late Sunday asked "all those who could have endorsed me to stay at home." According to him, he chose to change his campaign strategy, not to vote, and to also urge Romanians not to go to vote in the referendum, in order not to validate the reported fraud.
In the three-week campaign for the referendum, Basescu's main supporter the Democrat Liberal Party professed its solidarity with the suspended president, supporting him by boycotting the referendum in a bid to make the process invalid by an insufficient voter turnout.
On the other hand, high-profile members of the ruling Social Liberal Union called on the citizens to go to the polls.
The parliament approved on July 6 the impeachment request against the president submitted by the ruling Social Liberal Union, a ruling alliance that came to power three months ago and is made up of the Social Democratic Party, the National Liberal Party and the Conservative Party.