JUSTICE POLITICS

PSD’s Dragnea sentenced to prison by Supreme Court. Reactions after SocDem’s leader conviction

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) sentenced Liviu Dragnea to three years and 6 months in prison for instigating to abuse of office in the case of the fictitious hiring at the Teleorman Social Assistance and Child Protection Directorate General (DGASPC).

The Supreme Court maintained in the case of PSD (Social Democratic Party) leader Liviu Dragnea the sentence enforced by the court of first instance.

The conviction decision was made by four of the five members of the panel, one of the judges having a separate opinion, in the sense of referring the case to the first instance court for retrial, on the grounds that that panel from the first instance should have been specialized in corruption offenses.

Floarea Alesu, former general manager of DGASPC Teleorman, also remained with the conviction from the court of first instance, namely 3 years, 7 months and 20 days of imprisonment with execution.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court has accepted the appeals of some of the defendants, reducing the sentences applied to them.

Thus, the sentences granted now are: Adriana Botorogeanu – a suspended sentence of 2 years, 4-year trial period; Rodica Milos, former Deputy Executive Director of DGASPC Teleorman – a suspended sentence of 3 years, with a 5-year trial period; Ionel Marineci, former head of Service for Child and Family Services – a suspended sentence of 3 years, with a 5-year trial period; Constantin Claudiu Balaban, head of Child and Family Services Complex in Alexandria Municipality – acquitted for abuse of office, suspended one year for intellectual fraud, 3-year trial period; Nicusor Gheorghe, at the date of the deeds chief of the Administrative, Heritage, Technical, Procurement Service – acquitted for abuse of office, a suspended sentence of 3 months for intellectual fraud, 2-year trial period.

Were also acquitted Valentina Mirela Marica, at the time of the deeds head of the Recovery Complex and coordinator of the Child and Family Services Complex and Bombonica Prodana, the former wife of Liviu Dragnea and former coordinator of the Child and Family Service.

 

Reactions

 

Olguta Vasilescu: What message can be clearer for the court than the President’s statement today, several hours before the verdict?

 

PSD Spokesperson Lia Olguta Vasilescu claims that President Klaus Iohannis’s statement on Monday, according to which “thieves and felons sit in prison, not at the helm of the state” was “a clear message for the court.” “What message can be clearer for the court than the President’s statement today, several hours before the verdict? We’ve also been through the Adrian Nastase moment, convicted by a court that admitted that there is no evidence but argued that it must issue a signal for the public opinion,” Olguta Vasilescu wrote on Facebook on Monday.

Prior to that, President Klaus Iohannis gave a press statement in which he said, among other things, that “thieves and felons sit in prison, not at the helm of the state.”

 

Firea: If we continue to base our policy on a small group of persons, not on wide consultation within the party and society, we risk losing much more

 

Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea posted a message concerning the situation within the PSD, stating that if the party continues to base its policy on a small group of persons, instead of basing it on wide consultation within the party and society, then it risks losing much more.

“We find ourselves at the crossroads and, under the pressure of recent events, we have to take important decisions that are decisive for our evolution as a party but also as political doctrine. Decisions that will implicitly impact the country too. We must understand very clearly that there is the need not only for a change of persons but also of the way of doing politics. A change demanded not just by the proven bankruptcy of the way the party has been coordinated lately, but also by the major transformations that have occurred in society,” Gabriela Firea wrote on Facebook.

She points out that people justifiably have ever higher expectations and have at their disposal instruments through which they can efficiently communicate them.

“If we continue to base our policy on a small group of persons, and not on wide consultation within the party and society, we risk losing much more. On a human level, I regret the difficult situation Mr Dragnea is now going through. I’m also sorry that this situation has negatively impacted the Social Democratic Party and Romanian society in general. The PSD had many sympathisers and voters. The PSD had many responsible politicians who took Romania into the EU and NATO. I believe we must return to the people, young and elderly, to listen to them more. And, of course, they too will return to us. The important thing is not to tear each other apart for power. Solidarity and learning the lesson should be our guiding words,” Gabriela Firea concluded.

 

Turcan: House plenum must be urgently convened to replace House Speaker Liviu Dragnea

 

PNL’s House whip Raluca Turcan claims that the House plenum must be urgently convened to replace House Speaker Liviu Dragnea.

“The House plenum must be urgently convened to replace Speaker Liviu Dragnea! Justice has been served, Liviu Dragnea will go where he belongs! The liberation of Romania started yesterday at the polls and continues today with this ICCJ decision,” Raluca Turcan wrote on Facebook on Monday.

According to her, the meeting should take place this week.

“The leadership of the Parliament should convene, this week, a House plenary meeting in order to elect a new House Speaker. It’s vital for this essential institution to be able to regain its normal role in a democracy, the role that Liviu Dragnea constantly undermined during his term in office,” Turcan added.

 

Barna: The darkest period of the last 30 years is ending

 

USR leader Dan Barna reacted dryly to Liviu Dragnea’s prison sentence, stating that today’s decision puts an end to a dark political era.

“The ICCJ has ruled in Liviu Dragnea’s case. The ICCJ decision today puts an end to the Liviu Dragnea era, one of the darkest political periods in the last 30 years. Romania is getting healthier.”

 

USR-PLUS Alliance: ICCJ decision confirms that lawbreakers have no place in public office

 

The 2020 USR-PLUS Alliance claims that the court ruling in Liviu Dragnea’s case “confirms the fact that lawbreakers have no place in public office” and that the judiciary is working.

“The ICCJ decision confirms the fact that lawbreakers have no place in public offices! The final court ruling to convict Liviu Dragnea proves that the Romanian judiciary still works, despite all the pressures magistrates have been subjected to for the past two and a half years. In a democracy, thieves pay for their crimes, and magistrates must be allowed to do their duty, something that Romanians have also said at the polls, on Sunday,” the representatives of the USR-PLUS Alliance said.

They consider that the court ruling “represents proof of the independence of the magistrates and of the fact that Liviu Dragnea did not manage – despite all desperate efforts – to bring the Romanian judiciary to its knees.”

“In order to avoid prison and whitewash his political dossier, Liviu Dragnea resorted to all sorts of gimmicks and actions profoundly deleterious for the rule of law and democracy. In these two years of PSD governance, we have all witnessed the horrors that he and his camarilla planned against the judiciary. Having a prior conviction in the Referendum Case, at any rate Liviu Dragnea shouldn’t have been present in public life, but in the absence of clear regulations – such as the one included in the ‘No lawbreakers in public office’ initiative – Romania impotently watched everything he did while holding the third-highest office in the state. Enough. From now on, we start the reconstruction of normalcy; Romanians want it and have said that loudly and clearly on Sunday,” USR President Dan Barna stated.

“Let’s return to a normal world. Mr Dragnea’s personal agenda no longer overlaps the public agenda. Romania has the right to normalcy and now is the time to start repairing what PSD and ALDE wrecked and to build the country we want,” PLUS President Dacian Ciolos stated in his turn.

Alliance leaders claim that “after the PSD took power, Liviu Dragnea did nothing but try to delay – if not to outrightly block – the case.”

“He ordered the Grindeanu Government to issue GEO no.13, he told Viorica Dancila to challenge at the Constitutional Court the way the ICCJ’s five-judge panels are formed and, after he saw that such a strategy is a winning strategy, thanks to the help he received from the politically-appointed Constitutional Court judges, he ordered Florin Iordache to challenge the three-judge panels too. In parallel, in Parliament, he told the PSD and ALDE parliamentarians to massacre the judicial laws, to set up the Special Section for the intimidation and blackmailing of magistrates, and to amend the Criminal Codes, including in the sense of lowering the statute of limitations.

“Romania needs upright and professionally-skilled people in public offices, people who would truly act in the service of the citizens,” the USR-PLUS Alliance added.

 

Catalin Radulescu: Dragnea’s conviction, an execution. From now, open season on people. Kill, rape, do what you want, because this is the trend!

 

House lawmaker Catalin Radulescu (PSD) claims that the court’s decision to sentence Liviu Dragnea to three and a half years in prison is the second execution that the PSD faces after the case of Adrian Nastase and that “from now on, there’s an open season on people,” claiming that in the last ten years he never believed “that the Romanian judiciary is independent.”

“I hoped for an acquittal. I hoped to the last moment, but that’s how life is. It’s the second execution for the Social Democratic Party after Adrian Nastase. I hope all those who voted yesterday are happy, and probably even the people who received large pensions, they should give them back, because the USR and the others will demand it, those who are farmers should probably give back the subsidies, same goes for the pensioners, the employees… they should fare well alongside those who voted, let’s see how well it’s going to be for them with the other ones,” Catalin Radulescu stated.

He said that he has the “belief” that the vote in the European Parliament elections “is linked to Liviu Dragnea’s conviction.”

“It’s very clearly visible that it’s a 1950s-style execution. They were all acquitted or received suspended sentences, an example had to be made. I never believed in an independent judiciary. (…) If need be, we too will leave the country, this is not a problem; you stay here in the country, with the Securitate people! Never in my life did I believe in any kind of independent judiciary in the last ten years, because an independent judiciary works differently, like it works in Europe, not with protocols, with mixed teams, not with Securitate people who make up denouncers, because you will not find this kind of thing anywhere else in Europe,” the Social Democrat said.

Asked whether he has a message for the PSD leader following his conviction, Radulescu said: “We are by his side, he should stay strong. If we are able to visit him, we will categorically visit him.”

At the same time, asked whether in his opinion Liviu Dragnea would have been acquitted had the PSD won Sunday’s elections, Radulescu said: “He would’ve been acquitted today.”

“This is how life is! They won in the rest of the countries; we didn’t win here. (…) Here, Romanians wanted something else, against this backdrop of hatred. From now on, it’s open season on people. I’m actually telling all those who wanted such votes: kill, rape, do what you want, because from now on this is the trend. This is the trend in Romania, enjoy such a trend!”, Radulescu added.

 

Ponta: I’m not happy with anyone’s trouble. I am sorry that this man blinded by haughtiness and malice has drawn Romania, the Government, the parliament and a party after him in the abyss

 

Pro Romania Chairman and former PSD Chairman Victor Ponta stated, after PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea’s conviction, that he has drawn Romania, the Government, the Parliament and the party after him, in the abyss, “blinded by haughtiness and malice”. However, Ponta wished to mention that he is not happy with anyone’s trouble.

“I’m not happy with anyone’s trouble and I don’t comment on criminal sentences. I am glad that the decision comes after yesterday’s voting, which showed what Romanians think about Liviu Dragnea. I am sorry that this man blinded by haughtiness and malice has drawn Romania, the Government, the Parliament, a Party and the honor of millions of people in good faith after him in the abyss!”, Ponta wrote on Facebook.

 

Ecaterina Andronescu: Now, we have to find the solutions to rebalance the party; I don’t think the conviction is related to the result of the elections

 

Minister of Education Ecaterina Andronescu says PSD must admit “without any reservations” the result of the elections and the decision delivered by the magistrates and find solutions to rebalance the party. Andronescu doesn’t believe that Liviu Dragnea’s conviction is related to the result of the elections.

“I believe this is the best to do: to admit the result of the elections, without any reservations, and of course, to admit the decision delivered by judges”, Ecaterina Andronescu stated on Monday.

Asked if the decision delivered in Liviu Dragnea’s case is related to the result of the elections, Andronescu said: I don’t believe it is related to the result of the elections”.

Also asked how this situation occurred, Andronescu said that “the answer is very sad”.

“The answer is very sad: due to certain mistakes that have been repeated and amplified. I don’t think we have to find the guilty persons now. Now, we have to find the solutions to rebalance the party, which is a ruling party”, Ecaterina Andronescu added.

 

Daniel Florea: Yesterday, we were given a very tough lesson from the voters, from the Romanian people; none of my colleagues should distance from the party Chairman

 

District 5 Mayor Daniel Florea believes that none of the Social Democrats should distance from Liviu Dragnea, the chairman along whom PSD has gained the best results in the party’s history, as well as the poorest results. Florea believes these results have been reached because PSD allowed Liviu Dragena’s “demonization” and to his identification as “a monster of evil”.

Daniel Florea stated on Monday that Social Democrats made mistakes by accepting Liviu Dragnea’s demonization by their opponents.

“None of my colleagues should distance from the Chairman along with whom we have gained the best results in the party’s history. As well as the poorest result in the party’s history, because we made a lot of mistakes regarding the communication and we accepted his demonization and identification as a monster of evil. But I think we should discuss about these things. We were given a very tough lesson from the voters, from the Romanian people, and we must learn from everything that happened”, Daniel Florea stated.

Asked if Liviu Dragnea shouldn’t have made a step back after his first conviction, the District 5 Mayor answered: “Mister Liviu Dragnea is a man who can make his own decisions, we discussed about these things inside the party, please allow me not to make any other comment”.

Daniel Florea believes this is not the worst day in PSD’s history.

“This is not the worst day in the party’s history, but this day must remain in our memory, in everyone’s memory. I think all of us must learn to take responsibility for all our actions. I also believe we should not stop supporting our colleagues in the difficult moments”, Florea mentioned.

He told Liviu Dragnea to be strong.

 

Marian Oprisan: PSD has done a lot of good things for Romanians and for Romania and doesn’t deserve to go through this

 

PSD Vrancea Chairman Marian Oprisan stated on Monday that “PSD has done a lot of good things for Romanians and for Romania and doesn’t deserve to go through this”, but he said that the Social Democrat ideal will continue.

“The Social Democrat ideal will continue, because PSD has done a lot of good things for Romanians and for Romania and doesn’t deserve to go through this”, he stated on Monday, when he arrived at the PSD meeting convened after Liviu Dragnea’s conviction.

Asked if he will be Liviu Dragnea’s successor to the party’s leadership, Oprisan said: “I’ll not make any other comment”.

On Sunday evening, Marian Oprisan asked Liviu Dragnea to resign, saying that he succeeded to compromise the overwhelming trust given by the Romanians in 2016 and he betrayed the expectations of the party’s voters.

 

Liviu Pop: It’s a difficult day for PSD, it’s sad that we’re here, but we have the power to regenerate ourselves

 

Liviu Dragnea’s conviction to prison is a sad thing for PSD, but the party has to overcome this moment, the Social Democrat Senator Liviu Pop stated on Monday for RFI.

Liviu Pop says that “it’s a difficult day for the Romanian politics, for the Social Democrat Party”.

“It’s sad that we are in this situation and we hope that we’ll overcome this difficult moment”, Liviu Pop said.

He stated that “PSD is a solid party, it has the power to regenerate itself”.

“PSD is a solid party, it has the power to regenerate itself, even if yesterday’s result was an alarm signal on the communication that we have to carry out, first of all with the Romanian people. We have the capacity to overcome this moment, and the party will be strengthened in the end, regardless of the internal conflicts, which will definitely increase in the coming period”, Liviu Pop added.

 

Mayor Chirica: PSD is in a moral drift

 

Iasi Mayor Mihai Chirica stated on Monday that the result of the elections of May 26 and the fact that PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea was sentenced to prison shows that the party is subject not only to a political drift, but also to a moral drift.

“PSD is in a moral drift, a drift that became nuanced with the fall of the Nastase era, a drift that became more acute with his successors. None of those who led this party over the recent period cannot be granted with a crown of laurels, because the foundation of a European politics was lost on the way in favor of the personal interests, which made jails be full due to corruption deeds, which attracted the public contempt. I am a little bit surprised by the malice with which those in the party flattered (Liviu Dragnea – e.n.), activating his stimuli to do the bad things he did to this country, and now they distance from him and even become insulting. No, it’s too late now. Suffering has already been planted in the soul of the Romanian people. They should have done this when things went wrong, when everyone hided in his own shell and beneficial peace of himself or of a group”, Mihai Chirica stated for AGERPRES.

The Iasi Mayor believes that Liviu Dragnea’s departure from the head of the party is only the “drop” or the “top of the iceberg”, and claims that “the evil is underneath”.

“The many and bad guys who supported him in the top of the iceberg and think exactly as him are there. Something must be done there, if there is still a wish to make something from this party. Otherwise, there is nothing else than a predictable end for this party. Presidential elections are 100.1% lost, and the possibility to restore the governing act is null. (…) The battles inside the party are taken for a long time ago. Behind some large smiles that are full of love, a small devil of those who wanted to rule this party existed every time. And this can already be seen. I don’t see any of those who stayed on the right of Dragnea. If they had the capacity to rule this party, they wouldn’t have let Dragnea do it. If they didn’t know how to organize this party so that Dragnea wouldn’t have done what he did, it means none of those from there deserve to be the future PSD Chairman. Of course, if they wanted good things for it”, Mihai Chirica added.

Iasi Mayor answered that he expected that the decision of the magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice will convict the PSD Chairman to 3 years and 6 months in prison for instigating to abuse of office in the case of fictitious employments at DGASPC Teleorman.

“Given the last week’s evasion of the High Court, when it postponed the delivery of the decision to Monday, such a sentence was predictable, in a context that could have been solved earlier. Probably this end, which was somehow predictable, probably Romania was somewhere else if it was earlier. (…) For three years, I have witnessed a masquerade of ruling for the personal interest, which distorted the government intended and at the same time promised by the party in 2016. A society that divided very much and revealed the worst it had, unfortunately. It isn’t even a reason for joy, to me. It is a great sadness that I had to be contemporaneous with these moments and these people. I would have preferred to be born in a different time and not to meet them, but this is it. As anything that doesn’t kill us, it must strengthen all of us, we have to regain our energy and beauty that dominated the Romanian nation throughout the history, and to start to rebuild this country”, Mayor Chirica concluded.

 

 

 

 

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