Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, called on Thursday for the chief anti-corruption prosecutor to be dismissed for “excess of authority”, triggering street protests and potentially destabilizing a crackdown on graft.
Mr. Toader read a summary of a 20-point report arguing for Laura Codruta Kovesi’s dismissal that he compiled himself, telling she was responsible for “acts and facts intolerable to the rule of law.” She has been imputed to put a lot of pressure on the government, parliament and prosecutors.
In last weeks, a huge denigration campaign against the chief anti-corruption prosecutor has been conducted by some of those currently on trial. The speakers of parliament’s lower house and senate are both currently on trial in separate cases. In a news conference last week, Kovesi defended DNA saying she would have no reason to resign if she was asked to.
Shortly after the Justice Minister’s news conference, President Klaus Iohannis, who has the final say on the removal of chief prosecutors, said in a statement that Mr. Toader’s report was unclear and needed analysis. He is trying to gain more time.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside government headquarters following minister’s news conference, chanting “You’re not getting away with it”.
Under a growing public riot, the Superior Council of Magistrates gives a negative approval for the Justice Minister’s call. President Iohannis rejects the dismissal. The DNA chief anti-corruption prosecutor keeps the office. The parliamentary majority triggers the President’s revocation procedure.
In the case of a referendum for President’s revocation, Klaus Iohannis would reinforce the public back for him. The referendum’s outcome would be totally against the revocation. The anti-corruption fight still assures a victory in any electoral campaign in Romania. But the ruling coalition would have a needed time in order to remove the General Prosecutor of Romania and the chief anti-corruption prosecutor and replace them with their subordinated people. A lot of investigations against the lawmakers, ministers, mayors, magistrates and businessmen, exposing conflicts of interest, abuse of power, fraud and the award of state contracts in exchange for bribes would be stopped.
Under an important pressure coming from the European Commission, U.S. Department, embassies and foreign investors, the ruling coalition will not force the revocation of the President. The internal destabilization inside and the political isolation outside would make impossible the governance for the ruling coalition.
The Justice Minister’s effort is aimed to generate chaos, political instability, fight between institutions and give a new breath for the accused power brokers. In addition, all this fight against DNA indirectly helps the PSD chair Liviu Dragnea to win a new presidency within the party, an extraordinary congress being scheduled for March 10th. The Social-Democrats’ chair is perceived as making all efforts to block out the DNA’s activity.
In both scenarios, Romania is heading toward political instability which will be transposed into economic imbalance.