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Romania's ombudsman seeks repeal of law banning PSD leader from holding govt position

Romania's ombudsman seeks repeal of law banning PSD leader from holding govt position Romania's Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea

BUCHAREST (Romania), January 5 (SeeNews) - Romania's ombudsman Victor Ciorbea on Thursday asked the Constitutional Court to overturn a law banning officials convicted of criminal offense from being part of the country's government.

"The law violates several articles of the Constitution and many articles of international conventions," Ciorbea said in a televised statement.

The ombudsman moved to get the law repealed just days after the legislation prevented Liviu Dragnea, leader of election winner Social Democrat Party (PSD), from becoming prime minister. The law has been in force since 2001.

Dragnea was issued a two-year suspended jail sentence in April 2016 for a referendum fraud in 2012.

President Klaus Iohannis took into account this law in his decision to appoint the country's prime minister earlier this month based on strict integrity criteria.

Iohannis lashed out at the ombudsman's move.

"For 16 years, nobody has ever considered the law to be a problem for the political life in Romania. For 16 years the ombudsman, regardless of the name of the person who was in office, has not considered the law to be a problem for civil rights or liberties," the president's spokesperson, Madalina Dobrovolschi, said in a televised statement. "The efforts of a person convicted on criminal charges to become prime minister are not and should not be on the ombudsman's agenda."

On Wednesday, Romania's parliament voted into office the coalition government of PSD and Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE) led by Social Democrat prime minister Sorin Grindeanu. The coalition was formed as a result of December 11 elections.

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