The leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Romania, Liviu Dragnea, failed on Monday to pave the way for his premiership.
A Romanian court rejected Dragnea’s appeal to a 2016 vote-rigging conviction when he was given a two-year suspended sentence. In 2012, Liviu Dragnea inflated the number of voters that took part in a referendum to impeach ex-President Traian Basescu.
Romanian law stipulates that the Prime Minister must not have a criminal record. The final verdict means Dragnea will never become a prime minister.
In February, Dragnea’s protégé, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, was forced to back down from an amendment to the Criminal Code, which would have allowed Dragnea to clear his name. The bill would decriminalize abuse of power that have a cost smaller than €44,000. That amendment would benefit approximately 30 Members of Parliament, exclusively of the ruling Social Democratic party (PSD), including its leader Liviu Dragnea.
The Social Democrats won the December 2016 legislative elections, but Dragnea failed to secure a mandate to form a government. He was thus forced to propose the nomination of Grindeu, a 43-years old former communications minister (2014-2015) who, at the time, was leading a county council in western Romania.