BUCHAREST, Romania -- Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu of Romania said yesterday that his Cabinet would resign and early elections would be called after a court blocked essential justice reforms required by the European Union.
The Constitutional Court's ruling on Wednesday delays critical justice reforms that were requested by the European Union, which Romania wants to join in 2007.
The EU has warned Romania that its admission to the bloc would be delayed by a year if it fails to reform its inefficient justice system and enforce antitrust rules.
Tariceanu met yesterday with President Traian Basescu to discuss the situation. He later announced his resignation and said that legal procedures to hold new elections would be started.
''The blocking of the justice reforms means we have no chance to get a good report from the European Union that would allow us to join in 2007," Tariceanu said later on television.
He said new elections were needed to get a stronger majority that would pass the justice reforms.
''People can vote on whether they want to keep this dirty [justice] system, with a Constitutional Court dominated by the former ruling [Social Democratic] party."
Parliament can overturn the court's decision with a two-thirds majority, but the ruling coalition lacks the majority necessary to overturn the court's ruling.
The court, which is packed with people who are close to former president Ion Iliescu and former Social Democratic Party lawmakers, declared certain parts of the justice laws to be unconstitutional. The judges struck down passages which provided for competition for judicial appointments and a mandatory retirement age for judges.