Liviu Dragnea, the head of the ruling Social Democratic party gestures during a press conference after exit polls were released after voting in the European Parliament elections, in Bucharest, Romania, May 26, 2019.
Liviu Dragnea, the head of the ruling Social Democratic party gestures during a press conference after exit polls were released after voting in the European Parliament elections, in Bucharest, Romania, May 26, 2019.

BUCHAREST - A Romanian court has sentenced the country's most powerful politician to 3 years in prison for official misconduct in a graft case.

Monday's sentencing of Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea comes after a 2018 conviction linked to the employment of two party members at a public agency.

Dragnea, already blocked from being prime minister because of a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging, is expected to be imprisoned within 24 hours.

Dragnea's party suffered huge losses in European Parliament election on Sunday, falling to second place behind the opposition National Liberal Party.

Additionally, a non-binding referendum called by President Klaus Iohannis seeking to pressure the government into dropping efforts to water down anti-corruption measures won support from 80% of voters on Sunday.