Romania's anti-corruption authority under fire

The head of Romania's anti-corruption authority DNA, Laura Codruta Kövesi, is under growing pressure. Members of the governing coalition accuse her agency of improper investigation practices. Among other things the prosecutor's office is said to have falsified evidence. The accused investigators reject the allegations. A look at Romania's papers shows how much is at stake in the affair.

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Revista 22 (RO) / 13 February 2018

Corrupt politicians want to escape investigation

What is needed now is an objective debate about any mistakes or omissions made by the DNA, but unfortunately that won't be possible, writes Revista 22:

“Despite everything the DNA is the institution that has made the most progress in Romania's morass of corruption. It is effectively the only institution that receives praise instead of criticism from the EU Commission. The lynch campaign that has been waged against it for years, the various attempts to weaken the judiciary through changes to the penal legislation, all pursue the same goal: to escape the investigations, the convictions, of the DNA chief. It's not so much Kövesi's departure that would be the problem but the probability of her being replaced by a PSD puppet who keeps the DNA on a tight rein.”

Adevârul (RO) / 13 February 2018

Will the people just go along with it all?

The consequences of the affair will ultimately depend on how the people react, Adevărul points out:

“Let's assume that the president rejects the [potential] demand by the minister of justice that Kövesi be dismissed: then his popularity would increase. But at the same time it would accelerate the PSD-Alde coalition's assault on the judiciary in general and himself in particular. ... This is a difficult moment for Romania. ... Much now also depends on how civil society, the EU and the US react. Those now in power are even willing to cut the ties with the EU and the US if that means saving their own skin and avoiding imprisonment. What is not clear is whether the population will accept that.”

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