What comes after Romania's corruption referendum?
On the day of the European elections 81 percent of the Romanians who took part in a referendum voted that corrupt officials should be punished without any exceptions. Now President Klaus Iohannis wants the corresponding legislation to be incorporated into the country's constitution without delay. On Wednesday he also proposed a revision of the controversial judicial reform. Commentators have their doubts about whether this will work out.
Happy ending by no means certain
President Iohannis has taken on too much, journalist Liviu Avram writes on his blog with Adevărul:
“While the plan might not be bad from a purely theoretical point of view it lacks an essential element: namely that all politicians should be people of integrity. But as long as the leaders of the PSD and Alde aim to implement only those measures that were listed in the referendum [no amnesty in corruption cases and no emergency changes to laws on the judiciary] without seeing the big picture, I fear that the enthusiasm which Romanians showed in the vote on May 26 will peter out amid political wrangling.”
Iohannis didn't really win
We should be careful not to overestimate the referendum's importance, journalist Ioana Dogioiu Ene warns on news website Ziare:
“In fact no one won this referendum. It wasn't a vote on questions that the people had truly understood and answered responsibly. It was simply a vote against Liviu Dragnea. He lost. Just like in 2014, when Iohannis didn't win the presidential elections but [the former prime minister and PSD leader] Victor Ponta lost them. ... In this referendum the 'yes' was a huge 'no' to Liviu Dragnea. The people went out to vote for fear that Dragnea would run roughshod over law and justice.”