A police officer has become main suspect in the case of Romanian investigative journalist Emilia Sercan, who a week ago announced she received a death threat. She had linked the threat to her investigative reporting, which has focused on plagiarism cases among high level officials and lately on the leadership of the police academy of the country.
Romania's House of Deputies, as deciding forum, adopted on Wednesday a set of bills changing the criminal code and the criminal procedure code of the country, after passing them fast forward through a special commission. Opposition deputies criticised the changes to the law in the plenum during the day and announced they would challenge them to the Constitutional Court, as they "favored corrupt people in public documents". But the governing majority managed to push them through.
Romania's embattled judiciary faces a period of high tension as two key officials were prompted to leave office this week and key verdicts were postponed as the country prepares for the Orthodox Holy Week. Facing mounting pressure, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar announced his retirement and a prosecutor who has been accused of plagiarism was announced as replacement. And Justice minister Tudorel Toader announced his resignation as pressure increased for him to be replaced with an even bigger opponent of the fight against corruption.
Top EU and Western officials issued unprecedentedly harsh warnings to Romanian authorities on Wednesday demanding that rule of law be respected in the country and a key candidacy for a top EU prosecutorial job go on unimpeded. Romanian authorities responded in a just as harshly worded manner. But both parties stopped short from turning escalating rhetoric into action. The spiraling tensions are all the more so critical as Romania is the current holder of the rotating EU Council presidency.
Thousands of people across Romania on Friday joined a novel form of protest - a 15-minute pause in activity, joined by many companies and even authorities, in a call to build long due highways in the country and especially in its Eastern region of Moldova. The "Romania wants highways" campaign was launched by one young businessman from Suceava, NE Romania, who today inaugurated a piece of highway of only 1 meter length which he himself ordered to be built on a private property.
Romania's Central Electoral Office has rejected the registration of the opposition USR-PLUS Alliance for the European elections, according to a press release issued by the alliance on Thursday. USR-PLUS, formed of new political parties who have positioned themselves as "alternative" to old parties and in opposition to the governing Social Democrats (PSD), says the reason for the rejection is that the leaders of the two parties do not appear as their presidents in the Registry of political parties.
Romanian PM Viorica Dancila on Monday said that her government would not drop an ordinance issued recently, which changes the laws of justice and has been fiercely criticised for undermining the independence of the judiciary. Her position comes as domestic and European criticism and pressure on authorities to drop the ordinance have increased significantly.
UPDATE 1 President Klaus Iohannis urged the government late on Monday afternoon to annul the ordinance.