Ro­ma­nia’s par­lia­ment votes to keep prime min­is­ter’s im­mu­nity

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY ALISON MUT­LER

Ro­ma­nia’s par­lia­ment on Tues­day voted to keep the im­mu­nity of the prime min­is­ter, who is a sus­pect in a cor­rup­tion probe.

Law­mak­ers voted 231- 120 against anti-cor­rup­tion pros­e­cu­tors’ re­quest to pros­e­cute Vic­tor Ponta. The pre­mier is sus­pected of cor­rup­tion charges, in­clud­ing be­ing an ac­com­plice to tax eva­sion from 2007 to 2008 while serv­ing in Par­lia­ment, a con­flict of in­ter­est and money laun­der­ing.

Af­ter the vote, Pres­i­dent Klaus Iohan­nis re­newed his call for Ponta’s res­ig­na­tion and crit­i­cized Par­lia­ment for vot­ing to keep Ponta’s im­mu­nity.

“It is a proof of max­i­mum ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity and lack of re­spect for public opin­ion that most law­mak­ers are pre­vent­ing jus­tice from do­ing its duty ... to save a sin­gle per­son,” Iohan­nis said in a state­ment.

The U.S. Em­bassy said in a state­ment that “al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing by gov­ern­ment of- fi­cials should be fully in­ves­ti­gated with­out in­ter­fer­ence, and the law should be ap­plied equally to ev­ery­one. “

The Dutch em­bassy echoed the com­ments and went a step fur­ther, say­ing “re­cent de­vel­op­ments in Par­lia­ment raise broader is­sues about the at­ti­tudes to­ward jus­tice and cor­rup­tion in Ro­ma­nia.”

Ponta ear­lier told for­eign me­dia that he con­sid­ered resigning af­ter be­ing in­formed that he was a sus­pect last week, but de­cided to stay on to en­sure po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity. He de­nies wrong­do­ing and says he will co­op­er­ate with pros­e­cu­tors.

Iohan­nis has said that he would pre­fer the whole gov­ern­ment to re­sign, not just Ponta.

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