​EXIT POLLS European Elections: Romanian governing Social Democrats neck in neck with opposition Liberals, closing followed by USR-Plus alliance / Iohannis, opposition say PSD govt must go / PSD leader Dragnea says No Romanians slammed the incumbent governing parties with a massive vote in favor of the opposition in European elections on Sunday. With queues before polling stations, at home but even more so in the Diaspora, lasting forever, they also voted in enough numbers for a referendum in defense of the Romanian justice against government pressure to reach validation threshold.UPDATE Romanian President thanked Romanians for their patience in the voting process and blamed the PSD government of mocking the Romanian people, especially Romanians leaving abroad. He lauded PNL and USR-Plus and said the PSD got a result worthy of their "doing nothing" since taking over the government in 2016. A failed government, he said, which must "disappear" in the wake of this result. "This result cannot be read in any other way", the President said.UPDATE 2 PSD leader Liviu Dragnea refused to resign immediately, as urged by both the opposition and a prominent member of his own party. He said he would hold responsibility for the results within a party leadership session and not "before you" (journalists). And he urged PM Dancila not to give in to pressure to resign as her government had a mandate to "fulfill the government program".
EU elections: Domestic struggles split Romania voters between nationalistic, populist government and mostly European-friendly opposition Romania on Sunday joins fellow EU member countries in the elections for the European Parliament, seen here mostly as a test for domestic political powers before a wave of local, general and presidential elections in 2019-2020. The EP elections, marked by populist-leaning campaign debates related heavily to the struggles of Romanian politics and judicial matters and less about EU affairs, will be doubled by a national referendum on support for Romanian justice against governing coalition's attacks.
Police officer becomes suspect of death threat to Romanian investigative reporter 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.
​House of Deputies adopt controversial changes to Romania criminal codes, Opposition announces challenge to Constitutional Court 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 Justice in limbo as two key officials are crossed off before Orthodox Holy Week 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.
Romania government and top EU officials, foreign ambassadors in unprecedented standoff over rule of law 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.
"One meter highway" viral campaign draws thousands of people, officials and companies in 15-min protest across Romania 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 electoral commission rejects registration of key opposition alliance for European elections, alliance says 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.
UPDATE Romanian PM Dancila resists increasing pressure to drop ordinance affecting judiciary 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.
​Romanian magistrates in unprecedented wave of protests against changes to Justice laws Romanian magistrates across the country on Friday launched a series of protests against a recent emergency ordinance by which the government introduced a series of unannounced changes to the laws of justice. The protests, which are due to continue next week and include organised suspensions of activity, are warning that the independence of Romanian judiciary is threatened for political purposes.
Top EU officials including Frans Timmermans become subjects of complaint registered by Romanian body claiming to investigate Justice-related crimes A newly established body aimed at investigating crimes within the Romanian judiciary has registered a complaint against EC vice-president Frans Timmermans and other top officials, who are accused with criminal actions including the creation of an organised crime group. The body was established as part of the moves of the current government to subdue the judiciary politically. The complaint comes from a website known for its serving the interests of Romania's governing coalition in its attempt to put an end to the fight against corruption and bring the judiciary against political control.
Romania Justice minister Toader sparks outrage with two ordinances to change the laws of Justice Romania's Justice minister Tudorel Toader on Tuesday announced that the government adopted two ordinances changing the laws of justice: one focused on the designation of Romanian candidates to European prosecutor jobs and another on changing the three laws governing the judiciary, which were massively changed by the PSD-ALDE coalition last year. The announcement sparked harsh criticism from the President, the opposition, experts.
Former Romanian anti-graft chief Kovesi, a candidate for EU chief prosecutor, hears charges in case opened against her back home The former head of Romania's anti-graft prosecutor's office Laura Codruta Kovesi on Friday learned the charges brought against her in a corruption case which she says is aimed at undermining her candidacy for the job of EU chief prosecutor. She learned the charges after meeting a commission charged with investigating suspect magistrates, a body recently established by the governing coalition, criticised for attempting to subdue the judiciary and stifle the fight against corruption.
Romanian Parliament finally adopts 2019 budget bill with prospective deficit up to 2.76% Romania's Parliament on Friday finally voted the long overdue budget law for 2019, with the Government claiming it was a realistic one despite a long period of massive efforts to come up with some form of financial planning. The bill has been harshly criticized by the opposition, President Iohannis and analysts for being non-realistic, as it is based on forecast on an unexplained level of economic growth and revenues way above potential.
Romania's former anti-graft office head Kovesi accuses domestic attempts to prevent her taking over as EU Chief Prosecutor The former head of Romania's anti-graft prosecutor's office (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi announced in a radio show on Europa FM on Wednesday evening that she has been summoned as a suspect in a case, just as she prepares to go through European Parliament hearings for the EU Chief Prosecutor job. She accused a domestic attempt to stop her from taking over the job, given the hostility of the governing coalition in Romania against her.
​Romania recognises Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela Romania recognises Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, the Romanian Presidency announced on Friday. It said President Iohannis made the decision in the wake of thoroughly analyzing the situation and in the context of most EU member states, most of Romania's North-Atlantic allies and partners have recognised the legitimacy of Juan Guaido as interim president.
Romania finds itself without head of Army while NATO secretary general visits Bucharest The Bucharest Court of Appeals has decided to suspend a decree by which President Klaus Iohannis has extended the term in office of the Army chief of staff, General Nicolae Ciuca. The decision is not final, but has to be applied, which means the Romanian Army remains without a head at the very moment NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Bucharest.
Key Romanian leader Dragnea to be absent from ceremonies to launch Romanian EU Council Presidency The official ceremony for the launch of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council, scheduled in Bucharest with the participation of top EU leaders, will be missed by House of Deputies speaker Liviu Dragnea, the de facto leader of the governing Social Democrats (PSD). Dragnea, a politician who has received a suspended conviction for electoral fraud and faces other corruption cases, has delegated his tasks as speaker to vice-speaker Florin Iordache, also of the PSD.
​Romania's judicial issues take international turn with cases involving top politician Dragnea, ex-chief anti-graft prosecutor Kovesi Two major judicial cases involving key public figures in Romania went international these days, shortly after the country took over the EU Council presidency. Both are related to the fight against corruption in the country and involve two major opponents - a former top anti-graft prosecutor and a political leader who had received a conviction.
Russia Embassy sparks Romanian diplomatic reaction with comments about alleged smear campaign against Soviet "bandit and rapist" soldiers ​Romania's Foreign Ministry reacted with "regrets" on Sunday to a statement published this weekend by the Russian Embassy to Bucharest, in which it claimed there was a campaign to smear the Red Army by labeling Russian soldiers during WWII as "bandits and rapists" while they liberated ECC countries from fascism. The Embassy statement was received as a provocation by Romanian commenters who point out the memories shared by the elderly, of the deeds Russians committed in their wake to their coming to Romania during and after the war.


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