New York Times about the ‘parallel state’, ruling party, Dragnea and Kovesi, independence of prosecutors


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In a feature titled “Claiming ‘Parallel State’ Cabal, Romania’s Leaders Target Anti-Corruption Prosecutor”, The New York Times tackles the current situation in Romania, with the ruling party (PSD) and its leader Liviu Dragnea holding the large rally on June 9 protesting what they call a “parallel state”. It is about the long lasting fight against corruption, the developments and those who carry on this fight, as well as those who oppose it.

“Mr. Dragnea and his allies have long called for the chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, to be fired,” the paper reads, presenting on the other hand DNA’s success in latest years.

“Each year since Ms. Kovesi became chief prosecutor of the D.N.A. in 2013, about 1,200 people have been indicted on corruption charges, and 1,000 convicted. Among those charged have been 14 government ministers, 39 deputy ministers, 14 senators and one member of the European Parliament. The office has secured 27 convictions in those cases, with most of the rest still pending.

Ms. Kovesi, who remains in her job while the president weighs her future, would not comment directly on the Constitutional Court ruling. But in an interview at the directorate, in the same building that served as the Romanian Army’s command center in World War II, she defended her office,” the newspaper reads.

“Changing mentalities is hard,” she said. “The last five years have meant a lot for Romania.”

Ms. Kovesi’s hard charging, take-no-prisoners style has made her many enemies from across the political spectrum. As the heat on Mr. Dragnea increased, he pushed back more aggressively.

“Because of our investigations, because of our convictions, during the past year and a half the pressure on our institution has certainly increased,” Ms. Kovesi said. “If the independence of the prosecutor disappears — as it appears it now does — the job does not become more difficult,” she said. It becomes, she added, impossible.

New York Times also quoted Judge Cristi Danilet, who has spent two decades in the judiciary and is a judge in the northern city of Cluj, who is not confident. “It is a very dangerous moment,” he said. “I am terrified about my future as an independent judge in the Romanian judiciary.”

Daniel Zamfir (ALDE): Does NYT know also about acquittals?

Anticorruption struggle is not relying on only one person, Senator Daniel Zamfir, a fresh ALDE member, has told RFI after his resignation from PNL. He commented on the article published by the New York Times, according to which the anti-corruption fight in Romania is in danger, following the order to dismiss DNA chief Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Daniel Zamfir wonders if “the latest acquittals are also discussed? Does the New York Times know, for example, that some 540 files, if I’m not mistaken, were left unattended? I think the information that came to the journalists there is far too little to draw such a conclusion.”

The Senator says “the anti-corruption fight is not relying on only one person. The anti-corruption fight is an institution. Institutions can be run by people who can make mistakes, bigger, smaller, mistakes that can cost them. As such, anti-corruption must continue in Romania as a just anti-corruption fight.”

Senator Daniel Zamfir announced recently, in an open letter addressed to his colleagues, that he is leaving the National Liberal Party (PNL), because the party has been put down into trenches and is heading in the wrong direction.

PNL Executive Committee decided on March 28 to exclude Senator Daniel Zamfir from the party. The decision was adopted with 26 votes for and 2 against, plus two cancelled ballots. The decision is to be validated by the PNL National Council.


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