Divide and Conquer: How Romania Lost the War on Corruption

Ioana Burtea Bucharest, Belgrade

Once the scourge of crooked politicians, Romania’s anti-corruption agency is besieged and battered. Many fear it will never be the same.

The crest of Romania’s anti-corruption agency. Photo: Octav Ganea

Shortly before 10 p.m. on a balmy summer evening, Liviu Dragnea strode onto the stage in Bucharest’s
Victory Square as a sea of people waving Romanian flags erupted into cheers.

Wearing a pressed white shirt without a tie, he put a hand on his hip and waited for the crowd to hush as the words “terror”, “insecurity”, “victim” and “fear” flashed on a giant screen behind him.

Many of the 150,000 people at the June 9, 2018 rally had been standing in front of the government building since before noon, bussed in from around the country. They had come to see the man known as the most powerful figure in Romanian politics.

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