She has joined suspended President Traian Basescu at all political meetings with the public for the past several weeks. Monica Macovei, Romania’s former Justice minister, tells why she is sticking her image to that of the suspended head of state and raises doubts about her replacement at the Justice Ministry, in a interview.

She says her presence at each of Basescu’s meetings is explained by the fact that he “was my partner in the fight against corruption. And that was and is a cause for which to continue fighting. And it must be on the agenda of all good-willed people and of the civil society.”

Macovei says that the real reason for the suspension of the president is that he told the truth “about political corruption, institutionalized corruption”. Another reason was his fighting for the independence of justice, of prosecutors and judges, she adds.

She says she will try to attend all of Basescu’s scheduled meetings until the May 19 referendum on his dismissal because “politicians are reacting against measures that would lead to their self reform”.

She says she had a discussion with the suspended President on whether to join him in the presidential team when he returns to office after the referendum, but “I have not yet taken a decision on my professional route”. And she dismissed claims that this may be a reason for her to attend his meetings with the voters.

Of the new Justice minister, Tudor Chiuariu, Macovei says that his first public messages were favorable to the continuation of reform and of the fight against corruption. But “now I find it hard to believe in the veracity of these messages… I receive bad signals but I cannot comment on them yet”, she says.

She admits that the laws on the establishment of a National Agency for Integrity (ANI), aimed at checking the wealth and office compatibilities of elected officials, have been evolving the right way “to a certain extent”. She said key issues such as the incompatibility of lawyers serving as MPs, which is missing from the current ANI draft law, are still to be solved.

An interview by Dan Tapalaga