When Romanian Justice minister Tudorel Toader announced Thursday evening that he launches the procedure for the dismissal of the country's chief anti-graft prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, he sparked a wave of criticism and even ad hoc protests in Bucharest and other cities.
He forwarded the call for the dismissal of Kovesi, who heads the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), to President Klaus Iohannis and the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM). It is the President who has to decide whether to dismiss Kovesi or not, taking into consideration the opinion of CSM.
Toader's announcement prompted protests in Bucharest and other cities across the country. Late in the evening, some 1,000 people convened in Victory Square in the capital city to call for Toader's resignation instead.
Another, bigger protest was called for Sunday evening, in a continuation of a wave of major demonstrations that have taken place for more than a year against the governing coalition attempts to put an end to the fight against corruption.
The Presidency criticised Toader's presentation of a report on the management of DNA for its lack of clarity. A press statement re-affirmed the President's support of the DNA and said he viewed the situation differently than the Justice minister.
MP Raluca Turcan of the opposition Liberals (PNL) called for Toader's resignation, calling him "a shame for Romania" and a "defender of criminals". A PNL spokesman also called for Toader's resignation due to his dishonoring of his job.
Another opposition party, USR, as well as a political movement led by former technocratic PM Dacian Ciolos also criticized the minister's statements, calling them an attack against the independence of the judiciary.
And a law professor from the university where Toader used to teach law before taking over as Justice minister, the Cuza University in Iasi, said none of his 20 lines of accusations against Kovesi had legal or rational support.
And Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar commented on Facebook that he saw no legal reason to dismiss Codruta Kovesi as head of the DNA.