DNA indicts Liviu Dragnea in referendum case

Main charge brought against him – he allegedly used his influence to reach the ‘objective of 60 pc turnout’.

PSD Secretary General and Teleorman County Council (CJ) was yesterday indicted by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutors (DNA) in a case of possible fraud related to the referendum for the dismissal of the president of Romania on July 29. ‘The main charge, that I associated myself with thousands and tens of thousand of people in order to secure a turnout of over 50 per cent plus one. In simpler phrasing, I am being summoned to DNA’s because I and millions of Romanians voted in the referendum’, Dragnea said when leaving the DNA headquarters, according to Mediafax.  He noted that he had been invited to DNA’s to be informed on the charge brought against him and said that he had not given any deposition on the subject in front of the prosecutors. I will be back in the next two weeks to make a statement on the charge’, the Social Democrat also said. He added that the prosecutors had not enforced any interdiction on him. ‘I am not even banned from speaking, I am free’, Dragea said with irony. Asked by the press if the new penal case could be a form of revenge by President Traian Basescu, Liviu Dragnea gave a positive answer: ‘That’s a certainty’, he said, adding that he had done nothing wrong in the campaign before the referendum on July 29. ‘What we (PSD  – our note) did has been done and is done by all parties, all the time, for it is the legal right of a party to receive information on developments from its members (…)’, Dragnea said. Before finding out the charges, Dragnea had said he had nothing to reproach to himself and that he had led the PSD campaign ‘legally and correctly’. TVRinfo.ro quote judicial sources as saying that Liviu Dragnea was indicted under article 13 of law no. 78 (2000) on the prevention and punishment of corruption. Dragnea is actually accused by prosecutors that, in his capacity as the coordinator of the PSD national campaign for the referendum of July 29, he used his influence and authority to determine mayors and heads of polling stations in counties in the South of the country to break the law in order to obtain ‘electoral benefits, meaning to reach the objective of a turnout of 60 per cent at all cost, even by breaking the law’. Dragnea is also being charged with setting up a national system of influence designed to convince central, county and local public authorities under PSD’s political control as well as putting pressure on the presidents of electoral bureaus of polling stations to introduce into the ballot boxes extra voting ballots and to use the mobile ballot box against the law, reads a release DNA issued afterwards.

Political reactions

Commenting on the prosecution of PSD Secretary General Liviu Dragnea, the acting President of the PDL Bucharest Organization, Adriean Videanu, said he did not know any details of the case. ‘No one is above the law’, said the Democrat Liberal. On the other hand, PNL Vice President Sorin Frunzaverde said that, as far as he was concerned, Liviu Dragnea was innocent and Traian Basescu had returned to Cotroceni in the context of some kind of void of genuine democracy in Romania. Frunzaverde further said that one cannot speak of a ‘failure’ with the referendum, because it had been the first time in his career that the president was defeated in a poll. The National Anti-Corruption Directorate informed at the middle of August that it was conducting investigations regarding possible offences falling under its scope of competence, in connection with the referendum taking place on July 29 on the dismissal of President Traian Basescu. On the other hand, DNA explained in a press release that it could not offer additional information on the progress of such investigation. DNA came out with those clarifications after mayors of several rural localities in the Counties of Gorj, Mehedinti, Olt and Teleorman had said hundreds of people were being questioned by the corruption prosecutors on suspicion of referendum fraud.

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