Romanian Government Wins Confidence Vote Amid Coalition Boycott

(Bloomberg) -- Romania’s government survived a no-confidence motion, with a ruling-coalition boycott showing that Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea retains support despite being handed a second criminal conviction that could see him serve time in prison.

As expected, opposition lawmakers fell well short of the 233 votes needed to topple the cabinet, parliament’s deputy speaker, Florin Iordache, said by phone, citing a preliminary count. The result reinforces Dragnea’s position as the country’s most powerful politician and signals the potential for further clashes with President Klaus Iohannis over his party’s efforts to weaken anti-corruption efforts.

Politics in the Black Sea nation of 20 million people is becoming increasingly bitter as Dragnea and Iohannis spar over the fate of an unprecedented crackdown on graft. The Social Democrat boss said this week that he can’t rule out suspending the president over his delay in implementing a Constitutional Court ruling to fire the top anti-corruption prosecutor. In a sign the tensions may drag on, Iohannis recently pledged to run for a second term in 2019.

Dragnea, who’s unable to take the prime minister’s job after receiving a suspended sentence in 2016 for trying to rig a referendum, was convicted again last week, for abuse of office. While he plans to appeal, he also wants his party to accelerate the second part of a controversial judicial-reform package, parts of which may benefit his cases.

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