Thousands of Romanians rally in support of leader

Tens of thousands of people rallied in the southern Romanian city of Craiova on Saturday to voice support for suspended President Traian Basescu, who faces an impeachment referendum next week after a dispute with the opposition-dominated parliament. The president is at odds with most political parties in parliament after he accused lawmakers of drafting laws for special interests, and is also in conflict with Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, a former ally. Recent polls suggest that Basescu, a former sea captain and mayor of Bucharest who came to office in December 2004, is favored to win the May 19 referendum by a margin of more than 20 percent. More than 30,000 people were in the crowd Saturday, police said.