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Political temperature rises in Romania

Summers regularly reach 40 degrees in Bucharest. Tempers are also heating up in politics just as cucumber time is approaching.


In Romania, the prosecution has a special anti-corruption unit and at its head is Laura Kövesi (keúvesjie). She is thoroughly hated by the political establishment: her prosecutors have already put quite a few politicians behind bars. The justice minister wanted to sack her, but that can only be done with the president's approval. The minister produced a report with all sorts of allegations, then President Iohannis refused to sanction the dismissal, but the constitutional court then ordered him to do so anyway with a controversial justification. However, no deadline was set, so Iohannis is now playing delaying football.

The political scene is dominated by Liviu Dragnea. He leads the PSD, the largest party with a powerful network of provincial barons, activists and media outlets. The opposition in parliament is divided and has no appealing leaders. Kövesi's impending resignation was a morale booster for him, but now he himself was convicted on 21 June for complicity in a long-running corruption case. This is his second conviction - he already has a final sentence in his pocket for election fraud. Pending the appeal hearing, the PSD leadership has closed ranks. They are not mulling over resigning the party leader and consider the conviction to be political in nature.

A final conviction of Dragnea would further inflame things in Romania's polarised society. But the Supreme Court ruling on 21 June is already having a potentially weakening effect. In recent days, the PSD's coalition partners have been unusually vocal in their opposition to the government's intention to introduce, by emergency decree, a number of changes to legislation on criminal procedures and organisation of the judiciary, which could weaken the prosecution's powers. The proposals must now go through the usual route in parliament.

Not good for the country
The government is taking advantage of economic growth to increase civil servants' salaries. But like previous governments, it appears unable to build much-needed roads or future-proof the pension system. As with Trump, a secretive fifth column is being blamed for all the problems. Romanians deserve better politicians.


By: Johan Bouman

Photo: Flickr