Romania's Development and Administration minister Liviu Dragnea, who on Friday received a suspended prison sentence of 1 year over fraud in the 2012 referendum to dismiss ex-President Traian Basescu, announced at noon today that he submitted his resignation from the Victor Ponta Government despite he considered himself not guilty.

Dragnea claimed the sentence set a dangerous precedent that might threaten democracy, while PM Ponta supported him in stating he was not content with the decision.

How can one campaign without urging people to vote? asked Ponta, despite Dragnea being sentenced for using his political influence to acquire the necessary referendum turnout threshold by illegal means.

The court decision today may be appealed by either Dragnea or prosecutors.

Liviu Dragnea said he would also submit his resignation as executive president of the governing Social Democratic Party on Monday. He failed to state whether he would also resign as a deputy in the Romanian parliament.

His office as Development and Administration minister is one of the most important in the Romanian government, as the ministry is the key authority of control over politically influential local administration.