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Romania's justice reform plan draws concern for anti-corruption drive

Europe
23.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Bucharest (dpa) - Romania‘s leftist government on Wednesday unveiled a set of laws which aim to limit the influence of the president in the appointment of prosecutors. The proposal drew fire amid concerns over the country‘s fragile anti-corruption drive.

According to the reforms presented by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, the president will no longer name the state prosecutor and the prosecutor leading the anti-corruption agency. Instead, a council of magistrates is to name them.

Toader explained the reform with the intent to depoliticize the country‘s justice system, but President Klaus Iohannis, a political foe of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD), blasted it as a scheme to limit the independence of prosecutors.

The PSD took over in January in coalition with the liberal ALDE party as partners. It already replaced the prime minister in June, ousting Sorin Grindeanu and installing Mihai Tudose.

The party is under the firm control of Liviu Dragnea, who cannot become premier because of a criminal conviction for electoral fraud.

The new government tried to ease the rules on people with a criminal record taking office, in a move tailor-made for Dragnea to become prime minister. That, however, triggered huge protests, forcing the government to retract the bill.

Romania joined the European Union in 2007, but remains under its mechanism for verification and cooperation, effectively a monitoring platform to determine whether it has met EU standards.

Its judiciary is yet to reach the benchmark in the fight against corruption, but Bucharest did earn praise for its anti-corruption effort, which has produced more than 1,000 convictions over the past three years.

 

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