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Romania's Constitutional Court Upholds Anti-corruption Law

  • Associated Press

FILE - Demonstrators hold banners depicting the head of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, during an anti-government protest in Bucharest, Romania, Feb. 11, 2017.

Romania's constitutional court on Thursday upheld a law preventing people with convictions from serving as ministers, a victory for the country's anti-corruption fight.

The ruling deals a blow to the powerful chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, who cannot be prime minister because of a conviction last year for vote rigging.

Dragnea has called the law unfair, and many Social Democrats want him to be prime minister. The court had postponed making a ruling four times.

The law, introduced in 2001 as Romania prepared for membership in NATO and the European Union, bars people with convictions from serving as ministers. Dragnea could still run for president, because the law does not cover that post.

In January, Romania's ombudsman asked the court to declare it unconstitutional.

In a related development, senators who are members of a parliamentary legal committee voted Thursday to scrap a draft law they had approved the previous day that would have granted amnesty to people convicted of bribery and influence peddling.

More than 1,000 protested the vote Wednesday evening in Bucharest, joined by hundreds more in cities around Romania.

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