Wednesday

12th Dec 2018

Romanian PM resigns in spat with convicted party leader

  • Mihai Tudose (l) stepped down as prime minister (Photo: European Commission)

Political turmoil in Romania has forced the prime minister to step down, the second time in seven months, amid a spat with the governing social democrat leadership.

Prime minister Mihai Tudose tendered his resignation on Monday (15 January) after losing the support from his Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"I leave with my head held high," he told reporters.

An ongoing dispute with convicted fraudster and PSD boss Liviu Dragnea erupted following demands by Tudose for the interior minister to step down over a separate police child abuse scandal.

The interior minister, who is a Dragnea ally, refused. Tudose had also been seeking to reshuffle his cabinet.

"The party decided that a different government is needed, with a different type of approach," said Tudose.

It is unclear who will fill the now vacant post.

Dragnea has been barred from taking the prime minister's seat given a criminal conviction for electoral fraud. The ballot rigging comes on top of allegations that he illegally siphoned off EU funds during his time as a local politician.

Dragnea maintains his innocence.

The PSD came to power following December 2016 parliamentary elections. The country has since been beset by a number of protests following attempts by the leadership to curtail corruption probes.

People took to the streets late last year given PSD efforts to decriminalise corruption offences for which the damage is under €200,000. This included, among other things, abuse of power and sexual favours.

A similar decree in early 2017 sparked the largest nationwide protests in decades.

The parliament had also in December demanded to overhaul the judiciary, which critics described as an affront to democracy.

The reforms grant the parliament more power over the judiciary and the anti-corruption directorate, posing larger questions over their respective independence.

The controversial reforms have yet to be signed into law by Romania's centre-right president Klaus Iohannis, who himself has spoken out against it.

"These attempts to control the judicial system don't make it better, but make it worse," he had said last month.

Tudose's predecessor Sorin Grindeanu stepped down following a no-confidence motion last summer.

Romania searching for EU respectability

Ten years after its accession and a year before holding the EU presidency, the fastest-growing EU economy wants to "engage" more with its partners. But concerns over the rule of law continue to give the country a bad image.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary votes to create new court overseen by government
  2. Polish PM calls confidence vote in EU judicial clash
  3. MEPs urge Russia to free Ukrainian prisoners
  4. No renegotiation of Brexit deal, MEPs say
  5. Italy to spend less than EU feared: report
  6. May: new leader would have to delay or rescind Brexit
  7. Brexit chaos as Tory MPs to vote on May's leadership
  8. EU set to spend 3.2 percent more in 2019

Opinion

EU parliament vote strengthens whistleblower protection

We must not undervalue what a massive step the European Parliament vote represents. The hard work has paid off. We can take a moment to celebrate, but the hard work begins again for finalising strong protection for European whistleblowers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. EU awaits May's future, insists on no renegotiation
  2. Deja vu: Bulgaria pipeline to face EU scrutiny
  3. MEPs and EU staff hid from Strasbourg gunman
  4. 'Trumped Up': The curious case of Babis' conflicts of interest
  5. EU rules out Brexit changes, but could help May
  6. Lead MEP on Morocco resigns as her report passes
  7. UN text not yet ready for ministers, says EU climate czar
  8. Russian propaganda prompts alarm in Ukraine and France

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us