Many major politicians from Romania’s ruling social democratic party (PSD) are being removed from their leadership positions in an attempt to salvage the image of what until recently was the country’s largest political organisation.
Those who had close political ties and friendships with Liviu Dragnea, the most powerful politician in Romania, who was jailed at the beginning of the week, are now being “hunted” and forced to resign from all their party leadership roles.
Furthermore, this political purge also extends to the coalition partner party, ALDE. Just a few hours ago, the Judiciary Committee voted to lift the immunity of chamber president Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who is also the leader of ALDE, a party that failed to get enough votes in the election on Sunday to pass the electoral thrershold of 5 percent, which means that they will not have any representatives in the European Parliament. DNA prosecutors allege that during Tariceanu’s time as prime minister, in 2007-2008, he indirectly received material benefits worth about USD 800,000 from representatives of Austrian company Fujitsu Siemens in order to sign several addendums to a commercial contract, and that the money was used in an electoral campaign.
The targets of Romania’s ruling party purge
The first head to roll as part of this move was of that of PSD’s General Secretary Codrin Stefanescu. He will be replaced by Rodica Nassar, who is close with Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea and has not been at the forefront of PSD politics so far. Codrin Stefanescu was one of Liviu Dragnea’s biggest supporters, having backed all of his decisions, which were more or less made with a personal political interest.
PSD’s interim president and prime minister Viorica Dancila also announced that she would cut ties with Anca Alexandrescu, who until recently was a communications advisor, removing her from both her government and PSD roles. Alexandrescu had been appointed to those positions by Liviu Dragnea.
Another close friend of Dragnea’s is Darius Valcov, who has been the PM’s economic advisor and reportedly the “mastermind” behind all of the economic policies of the Dancila government, including the infamous OUG 114, which introduced several controversial provisions including an asset tax for banks, also known as the greed tax. The PM has not yet officially decided on Valcov, but she is expected to get rid of him soon, as he is also being prosecuted for releasing classified documents between the secret services and other state judiciary authorities.