Liviu Dragnea Arrest Highlights Europe’s Deep-Rooted Problem

European elections, which vowed to offer something more ineradicable to the people this time, have instead shown the falling influence of the continent. After Austria witnessed the collapse of the nation’s coalition government, and Steve Bannon made his presence felt in Paris, the head of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, has now been put behind bars on corruption charges.

Romania’s Supreme Court in its verdict on Monday, upheld a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence against Dragnea. The leader was proven guilty last year of having two party members paid by a state agency for fake jobs. The pronouncement came after PSD suffered a major loss at the European elections.

As per prosecutors, the 56-year-old using his influence procured fake jobs at a child protection agency for two women working for his party. The women also agreed receiving money from the agency, while working for PSD.

Besides, Dragnea denied the charges and appealed initial verdict to the court, post which he was allowed to remain free. However, on Monday the 56-year-old was driven in a police car into the Rahova prison on the outskirts of Bucharest, a televised footage showed.

Widely renowned as one of the most powerful political figures, Dragnea was stopped short of becoming the Prime Minister in 2016, because of conviction for vote-rigging. Yet, as his observers’ state, he still maintained a strong foothold in the nation’s decision making.

Instance of his power at display came forward in the PSD’s push for controversial judicial reforms. The demonstrators at that time demanded the resignation of the government, retaliating to the efforts undertaken to weaken the judiciary by governing Social Democrats.

Staging against PSD have been going on for months. In July 2018, President Iohannis approved the dismissal of anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who had been looking into the corruption accounts.

The move led to riots, with 150,000 gathering in Bucharest and demanding the government to reverse its decision, which allowed to free those jailed on corruption charges.

Presently, Dragnea is also under investigation in another case, which alleges that he formed a criminal group to siphon off cash from state projects.

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