Romania after Dragnea.
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.
- 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.