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April 13, 2021

International press: Romania in crisis

The criminal investigation commenced against Prime-Minister Victor Ponta has been widely covered in the international mass-media these last few days. Foreign journalists have written that the prime-minister of Romania refused to resign in spite of the president’s demand. Some publications also reminded of the plagiarism scandal involving Victor Ponta and the recent corruption scandal featuring ex-Finance Minister Darius Valcov.

‘Romania has been plunged into crisis after its president called for Prime Minister Victor Ponta to resign over alleged corruption. Prosecutors named Ponta as a suspect for crimes including forgery, money-laundering, conflict of interest and tax evasion’, Euronews reports.

‘Romania’s Social-Democrat Premier Victor Ponta, under criminal investigation on corruption suspicions, on Friday declined the resignation call made by President Klaus Iohannis, who warned about the risk of ‘a political crisis’ being started in one of the poorest countries in the European Union. (…) It is the first time that a Romanian prime-minister in office is the subject of a criminal investigation. The ball now seems to be in the court of the MPs. <We are pending the official Parliament answer> said DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Kovesi’, ‘Le Point informs.

Deutsche Welle reminds of the recent corruption scandal involving Darius Valcov. ‘In March, the minister of finance resigned after being prosecuted and the father-in-law of Prime-Minister Ponta and other MPs are being currently investigate into by prosecutors’, the quoted source says.

El Pays says Victor Ponta has survived ‘several political scandals’ attracting EU’s criticism over the violation of democratic principles and allegations of ‘systematic violation of the Constitution’, in the Summer of 2012, when he tried having his big rival, President Traian Basescu, dismissed. The Spanish journalists have not forgotten the plagiarism scandal either. At the time, Ponta told ‘El Pays’ that he would resign office if it was demonstrated that he had plagiarised his doctoral thesis, which actually happened.

In Turkey, trtworld.com notes that other ‘members of Victor Ponta’s family’, as well as ministers from his party were under investigation for corruption.

‘The Washington Post’ warns about the accusations made against the Romanian premier and stress that “The Romanian leu fell by 0.8 percent against the euro, the largest drop in a month, minutes after Ponta declared that he would not step down”.

La Vanguardia makes an analysis of the consequences of anti-graft fight that has now reached the prime-minister of the country and Fox News quotes the Associated Press correspondent from Bucharest.

‘Romanian prosecutors have made a series of high-profile arrests this year in what remains one of the poorest and most graft-addled countries in the 28-member European Union’, Reuters comments. The British news agency lists, among others, the cases of Liviu Dragnea or Adrian Nastase, whom it calls ‘Ponta’s mentor’.

‘President Klaus Iohannis has urged Mr Ponta to resign, saying it was <an impossible situation for Romania>’, BBC also notes.

CNN reminds that the premier himself has encouraged the anti-corruption effort: “Ponta — the head of the left-leaning government — himself has railed against corruption. He made tackling it one of his 2014 campaign for president — an election that he lost, notably, to Iohannis’.


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