A court decision on Thursday to sentence the leader of the governing Social Democrats (PSD) Liviu Dragnea to 3 years and a half under abuse in office charges has sparked a wave of reactions. While Dragnea himself, who is expected to appeal, remained silent, the head of his government defended him publicly and attacked judges who chose the sentence. In the streets of Bucharest, people protested again, while the opposition called for Dragnea's resignation as House speaker. Upheaval is expected within the PSD as well.
Liviu Dragnea, the leader of Romania's Social Democrats (PSD) and speaker of the House of Deputies, received a 3 years, 6 months sentence in a case involving fictitious employment of people at an institution in the county of Teleorman, where he used to run the regional authority. The verdict is not final as it can be appealed.
Some 4,000 people attended a new protest against the Romanian governing coalition's moves to change the legislation in order to weaken the fight against corruption, with thousands others joining similar protests across the country. The protest in Bucharest took place amid rising tensions between participants and gendarmes, with one German journalist apparently retained in a well coordinated raid by law enforcers. Demonstrations flared at the end of a politically heated day, with Opposition submitting a censure motion against the government, protests within the Parliament and journalists roughed up by governing party politicians.
The governing coalition in Romania used its majority in the Parliament this week to push through a series of changes to the Criminal Procedure Code, which are seen as a major blow to the fight against corruption. On Tuesday, President Iohannis accused the governing Social Democrats (PSD) of voting laws for the benefit of their own leader, while the opposition have accused the coalition of turning Romania into a "criminals' paradise". All these, while a major representative of the US Government was visiting Romania and showed support for the fight against corruption.
Tensions between Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and the governing Social Democrats (PSD) over the fate of the country's top anti-graft prosecutor spiraled again on Tuesday. Iohannis once again postponed a decision whether to dismiss National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) chief Laura Codruta Kovesi, prompting PSD officials to increase pressure and even talk of actions to suspend the head of state.
Russia's Ambassador to Bucharest, Valery Kuzmin, was left without a wallet while in a central square of the Central Romania city of Sibiu, according to news.ro news agency. It reports that the ambassador, who was left without money and his diplomatic card, submitted a complaint with the police.
Hundreds of thousands of people, many brought by buses from across the country, attended a massive protest organised by the Romanian governing coalition - which controls the government, the parliament and most public institutions - against what it calls a "parallel state" and "abuse of power". The coalition, led by Social Democratic (PSD) strongman Liviu Dragnea, used the event to attack the authority of President Iohannis and the prosecutors of the anti-graft body DNA, headed by Laura Codruta Kovesi, whom they accuse of "hurting democracy".