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Romanian ruling party could limit post-Dragnea reforms

Monday, June 17, 2019

Subject

Romania after Dragnea.

Significance

For much of the last five years that Liviu Dragnea controlled the Social Democrats (PSD), he also dominated the Romanian state politically. His 42-month sentence for corruption, handed down on May 27, has opened up a vacuum in the ruling PSD, and there is no obvious successor. The verdict came immediately after two electoral blows -- massive defeat in the European Parliament (EP) elections; and a resounding rebuff in a non-binding referendum in which over 80% opposed PSD attempts to amend or cancel anti-corruption legislation.

Impacts

  • President Iohannis is likely to assert himself in foreign policy, but has lost leverage in deciding senior judicial appointments.
  • The presidential election this autumn may not be crucial in the tussle for power, as the presidency has much-reduced powers.
  • The EU will be highly critical of Romania’s fast-increasing budget deficit, a legacy of the Dragnea era.
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