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Romania's president refuses to dismiss prosecutor general

Romania's president refuses to dismiss prosecutor general Romania's prosecutor general

BUCHAREST (Romania), January 4 (SeeNews) - Romania's president Klaus Iohannis said he has rejected a proposal by justice minister Tudorel Toader to sack prosecutor general Augustin Lazar.

"At this stage, I can answer very simply: I will not dismiss general prosecutor Augustin Lazar, as he is doing a very good job there, and I am pleased with his work. The evaluation, or the so-called evaluation presented by the justice minister, does not meet the rigours of the law," Iohannis said in a statement on Friday.

Romania's justice minister Tudorel Toader said in October that he is seeking the dismissal of Lazar for allegedly exceeding his authority and mismanaging the activities of the anti-corruption agency DNA.

Iohannis has the final say on Toader's proposal to dismiss Lazar but, according to the law, he had to wait for the consultative decision of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM). At the end of November, the council rejected Toader's proposal.

Toader spearheaded the government's drive to dismiss the former head of DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi, who was eventually sacked in July.

In July, Iohannis eventually signed a decree to dismiss Kovesi, after the ruling coalition of Social Democrat Party (PSD) and Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE) threatened to seek his suspension over his refusal to comply with a Constitutional Court decision and sack the DNA head.

Initially, the president rejected Toader's proposal to dismiss Kovesi in April. Toader claimed Kovesi had damaged the country's image abroad. In response, the Romanian government took the case to the Constitutional Court.

The proposed dismissal of Romania's prosecutor general could heighten concerns that the country is backtracking on its fight against corruption, as Lazar is seen by EU officials, alongside Kovesi, as a key figure in ensuring the independence of Romania's judiciary.