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Romania

Yearbook 2015

Romania. The charges against the government on corruption grew during the year. In February, a former minister was sentenced to prison, in March a politician was convicted of extortion, and the finance minister resigned since prosecutors launched a large-scale bribery investigation. According to COUNTRYAAH, Romania's richest man was sentenced to prison for bribery that would have gone to the Social Democrats. In May, the regional minister resigned because of a prison sentence for corruption.

2015 Romania

In June, information about suspicions against Prime Minister Victor Ponta came up in an investigation that included money laundering and tax crimes before his time in government. President Klaus Iohannis urged Ponta to resign, but he remained and survived the parliamentary vote of no confidence.

In July, Ponta was charged with suspicion of tax violations and money laundering. In September, it was announced that prosecution would be brought against Ponta, but he clung to power, even though he left the leadership of his Social Democratic party.

A fire in a Bucharest nightclub in November killed around 60 people, most of them young. About 150 people were injured. Pyrotechnics were used at a concert, and the venue had no security check. Protesters in the tens of thousands demanded the resignation of the government, as corruption and neglect were believed to have led to the accident. Ponta could no longer resist the pressure but filed his and the government's farewell application.

The President appointed former European Commissioner Dacian Cioloş as a new governor. He was commissioned to form an expert and technocrat government with broad support and mandate to lead the country for one year until the 2016 elections. The Cioloş government, which was approved in Parliament with 389 votes against 115, had civil society among the ministers. An economist at the European Commission was appointed finance minister, and an expert on combating corruption became Minister of Justice.

The corruption trial against Ponta began in parallel with the new government making the fight against corruption a priority. Economically, the state's finances were in relatively good condition after several years of painful remediation, and economic growth was considered stable.

During the year, a historic verdict fell when former prison camp chief Alexandru Vişinescu was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The 89-year-old Vişinescu was charged with inhuman treatment of prisoners between 1956 and 1963, when he was the head of a prison in eastern Romania where political prisoners were tortured and some were also killed. It was the first verdict against anyone responsible for the communist dictatorship's legal system.

Another former prison camp chief was awaiting trial, and several similar charges were planned. About half a million people were held as political prisoners in Romania during the 1950s and 1960s.

Former President Ion Iliescu was also indicted during the year on charges of crimes against humanity, after the Supreme Court, after criticizing the European Court, resumed pending charges against him. Iliescu was accused of killing several people and injuring hundreds when police and exiled miners attacked protesters in Bucharest in 1990.

Romania and Sweden signed a cooperation agreement in July to improve the living conditions of Romania's poorest groups, especially the Roma who, in growing numbers, came to Sweden to beg. Sweden will, among other things, contribute with expertise in social issues.

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