Romanian president Klaus Iohannis has said that he will not dismiss the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kovesi. The President made the announcement on Monday evening in a press briefing at the Cotroceni Palace. “The reasons for the revocation have not been able to convince me. I will not follow the Minister of Justice’s proposal to revoke Mrs. Kövesi, Chief Prosecutor of DNA,” said Iohannis.
Shortly after Klaus Iohannis’ statements, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced that he would refer to the case to the Constitutional Court after the President’s refusal to fire the DNA Chief.
Prior to President Klaus Iohannis’ announcement, the leader of the governing Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, said that if Justice Minister Tudorel Toader decides to take any action, he will have the support of the prime minister and the entire party.
“I know from the Prime Minister that she fully supports Minister Toader and we support Minister Toader and, depending on what the president announces, if Minister Toader intends to take any action, the prime minister will give him her political support,” said Liviu Dragnea on Monday.
Minister Tudorel Toader requested the dismissal of Laura Codruţa Kovesi on February 22, when he presented the report on DNA activity at the headquarters of the Ministry of Justice. He accused the DNA chief of using “non-constitutional, illegal [and] defamatory” methods to bring about convictions.
In February, Romania’s Superior Magistrates Council (CSM) also rejected the justice minister’s bid to dismiss Kovesi for abusing her authority and thousands of people took to the streets of several Romanian cities to voice their support for the popular NDA head.
Since 2013, Kovesi has been running the DNA, which investigates MPs, ministers and other senior officials, and has revealed conflicts of interest, fraud and abuse of power in one Europe’s most corrupt countries. Dozens of senior officials have been brought to justice.