Romanian political leader convicted after his party loses European elections

Paul Barbu 27/05/2019 | 17:02

Romanian political leader Liviu Dragnea was just convicted to three and a half years in prison in one of cases in which he was investigated, the day after governing party PSD lost the European election, according to preliminary results published in Romania today. The conviction has already caught the attention of several important international press outlets

romanian political lider convicted romanian ruling party lider inprisoned liviu dragnea psd inprisoned preliminary results romania european elections
Photo: Less than a day after the European elections in Romania were finalised, political leader Liviu Dragnea was convicted to 3 and a half years in prison.

The conviction had been hanging over Liviu Dragnea’s head for almost a year, but the political leader used all sorts of tricks to postpone his conviction. In the case in which the Romanian political leader was convicted, his wife was also investigated for abise in office, but she was acquitted, receiving only a fine.

The conviction comes as a roller coaster for Liviu Dragnea, whose Social Democratic party (PSD) recorded on Sunday its lowest score history in the European Parliament elections. According to the preliminary results available at this time, PSD ranks second, behind the Liberal party (PNL), with a percentage of 22.59 percent.

romanian political lider convicted romanian ruling party lider inprisoned liviu dragnea psd inprisoned preliminary results romania european elections
Photo: Ruling party PSD, led by Liviu Dragnea, just lost the first place in the European Elections, according to preliminary result published in Romania

The situation is all the more serious as party leaders had estimated a minimum score of 38 percent for these elections, then dropped to 32-36 percent, and were quickly hit by the tough truth: not even a quarter of Romanians still wanted to be represented by PSD.

Romanian political leader Liviu Dragnea: from controversy to prison conviction

Liviu Dragnea had previously been convicted of electoral fraud, which was the reason why he couldn’t claim the prime minister role, according to The Guardian.

romanian political leader convicted romanian ruling party lider inprisoned liviu dragnea psd inprisoned preliminary results romania european elections
Photo: Bending the Criminal Code to his own benefit, brought the Romanian political leader face to face with anti-corruption prosecutors like Laura Codruta Kovesi, who is up for the European Prosecutor role

Several European figures have accused Dragnea of being the main reason why Romania’s Council of the EU presidency has proved to be more of an ordeal than a showcase for the country’s government, and has been marred by a spat with Brussels over judicial concerns.

According to EU Observer, one of these voices was Frans Timmermans, the VP of the European Commision, who openly rooted for Laura Codruta Kovesi for the European Prosecutor, even if she was under fire in Romania for allegedly taking bribes.

romanian political leader convicted romanian ruling party lider inprisoned liviu dragnea psd inprisoned preliminary results romania european elections Liviu Dragnea convicted prison Liviu Dragnea DNA
Many in Romania believe that if Liviu Dragnea’s PSD had won the European elections, he wouldn’t have been convicted today

Liviu Dragnea, 56, rose to prominence through local politics, rising to the top of the PSD, ostensibly a centre-left party which draws on conservative social policies.

The PSD’s European election campaign was centered on nationalism, but this didn’t have the effect sought by the social democratic party.

Romania + Diaspora preliminary results as of 4 PM (96.77 percent counted):

PNL 26.98%

PSD 22.59%

USR-PLUS 22.25%

PRO Romania 6.46%

PMP 5.75%

UDMR 5.28%

ALDE 4.12%

Liviu Dragnea – long term Romanian politician, short term imprisonment

Liviu Dragnea (born October 28, 1962, Gratia, Romania) is a Romanian politician, president of the Social Democratic Party (since October 2015) and chairman of the Chamber of Deputies (December 2016). Liviu Dragnea is considered to be the most influential politician in Romania.

As an engineer, he entered politics after the 1989 Revolution: initially he was a member of the Democratic Party (1994-2001), and then joined the Social Democratic Party. Among the public positions he has held are the president of the Teleorman County Council (2000-2012), the Minister of Internal Affairs in the Boc Government (2009) and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration in the governments headed by Victor Ponta (2012-2015).

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