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Romania’s anti-graft president Probably to be re-elected

Last updated on November 8, 2019

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is widely predicted to win a first round of presidential elections Sunday, together with pledges to reestablish anti-graft attempts in one of Europe’s most corrupt countries.

To secure another term, Iohannis, 60, will likely face a runoff vote on Nov. 24, with opinion polls showing him winning no matter that of his competitors comes from second on Sunday.

His re-election may also strengthen the Liberal Party’s chances of forming a coalition government following a presidential election due in 2020 and revive investor confidence exerted by many years of political instability and financial largesse.

“This ought to be news to nobody, I need a reasonable justice along with also an efficient struggle against corruption,” Iohannis informed newest Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu before thisa month.

Since winning office in 2014, the former mayor of the Transylvanian town of Sibiu has fought to restrict a judicial overhaul from the ruling Social Democrats (PSD), which Brussels and Washington said threatened the rule of law and that triggered the nation’s biggest protests in three years.

The PSD was ousted from power at a no-confidence vote Oct. 10.

Iohannis succeeded in pushing back PSD appointments to high posts, for instance, anti-corruption prosecuting agency DNA and anti-organized-crime unit DIICOT, both controlled by a prosecutor general. These have earned compliments from Brussels for exposing high-level graft, for example, theft of European Union funds.

In 2018, the government had eliminated the mind of DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi, that has been appointed that the EU’s first chief prosecutor. The prosecutor general’s mandate expired in April along with also the DIICOT head resigned in October after criticism of the handling of a kidnapping-murder case.

The articles are full of interim appointees, permitting Orban’s justice ministry to nominate replacements which observers say could be accepted by Iohannis.

During its rule, the PSD increased the burden of evidence from graft cases, reorganized judges panels and establish a special unit to explore magistrates for possible abuses, widely regarded as a tool of political coercion.

Both are under 20 percent in surveys.