Romanian corruption verdict against ruling party leader threatens government

Romanian corruption verdict against ruling party leader threatens government

Prime Minister Dancila will lead a protest organised for today in support of the ruling centre-left Social Democrats (PSD). The

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Photo: Reuters/Octav Ganea

Prime Minister Dancila will lead a protest organised for today in support of the ruling centre-left Social Democrats (PSD).

The demonstration follows yesterday’s preliminary ruling in a corruption case against the party’s kingpin, Liviu Dragnea. The government has been reeling from massive protests against its attempts to legalise corruption relating to amounts under $48,000.

Protesters aim to unify a deeply splintered party and celebrate (or decry) the verdict on Dragnea. A guilty verdict risks splitting the party and pitting Dragnea loyalists—like PM Dancila— against his opponents rebelling against his power and corruption scandals.

Either way, the ruling PSD coalition is in serious danger of collapsing. In May, several MPs defected to the opposition. The main opposition leader, Ludovic Orban, is marshalling his numbers for a no confidence motion, which can only happen if Orban convinces a bevy of smaller parties and more government defectors to join the multi-party opposition and attain majority in the upper and lowers houses. The odds of a government change will shorten if Dragnea is convicted yet again of corruption as the centre-right president, Klaus Iohannes, is willing to appoint a new majority coalition if they have the numbers.