BUCHAREST - – Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose asserted on Monday in that corruption allegations surrounding three ministers had created problems for the country and his Social Democrat government, adding he was considering a Cabinet reshuffle.
Transparency International ranks Romania among the European Unionâ€™s most corrupt states and Brussels is keeping its justice system under special monitoring.
â€œThere are three ministers with problems who are indeed causing difficulties in terms of public perception and in some situations with the European Commission,â€� Tudose told private television station Antena3. He asserted he was considering asking the ministers to resign in a â€œmini-reshuffle.â€�
â€œI will make the announcement this week, 1st to the party, obviously. I will take responsibility for my proposals and I will ask the (ruling) coalitionâ€™s vote on them.â€�
Anti-corruption prosecutors asserted in September they were investigating Deputy Prime Minister Sevil Shhaideh for suspected abuse of office in a land convey case, and have asked parliament to approve an investigation in to European Funds Minister Rovana Plumb linked to the same case.
Shhaideh, moreover a minister for regional development, is a close ally of Social Democrat Party leader Liviu Dragnea, who has received a suspended sentence for vote rigging and is on trial in a separate abuse-of-office case.
Prosecutors moreover asked parliament to approve an investigation in to Viorel Ilie, minister in charge of the relationship between the Cabinet and lawmakers, in a case involving allegations of rigging a job contest for clerks at his ministry. Parliament rejected the request earlier this month.
Under Romanian legislation, parliament must approve investigations against sitting lawmakers. All three ministers have denied wrongdoing.
Tudose moreover asserted his relationship with Dragnea was not in a â€œhappy momentâ€�. Dragnea holds a tight grip over the party and earlier this year pushed out former Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu in a non-confidence vote.
At the start of the year, government attempts to weaken the crackdown on high-level graft triggered Romaniaâ€™s biggest street protests in decades.
Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Peter Cooney