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Romanian President Refuses to Dismiss Anti-Corruption Chief

As widely expected, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis confirmed on April 16 that he would not be firing Laura Codruta Kovesi, the boss of the Romanian anti-corruption agency, the DNA. Minister of Justice Tudorel Toader had formally called for the dismissal of Ms Kovesi in February.

“There is no justification for the revocation of the head of the DNA,” said Mr Iohannis, who has repeatedly backed Ms Kovesi, one of the most popular public figures in Romania.

“The reasons for the dismissal which the justice minister presented in his report are subjective and not convincing.”

Mr Toader responded immediately to the president’s statement and said that he would be referring the matter to Romania’s constitutional court.

With the putsch against Ms Kovesi now seemingly a busted flush, many commentators believe that the ruling PSD-ALDE coalition – keen to see criminal charges against much of its leadership dropped – will try to pass an emergency ordinance similar to that of January 2017. Then, more than half a million Romanians took to the streets to protest against the ordinance, forcing the government to back down. Had it become law, the ordinance would have seen a number of corruption trials collapse, including that of the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.

Mr Dragnea, a convicted criminal already serving a suspended prison sentence for attempting to rig an election, is facing jail time if found guilty in a separate corruption trial in which a verdict is expected soon.