Mon | Oct 15, 2018

Country approves first female premier amid protests

Published:Tuesday | January 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and Klaus Iohannis.


Romania's first female prime minister was sworn in Wednesday as the country's third head of government in a year amid ongoing anti-corruption protests.

Viorica Dancila, 54, a European parliament lawmaker before being elected premier, and her cabinet took their oaths of office, which were administered by President Klaus Iohannis.

Dancila won 282-136 votes in parliament, far more than the 233 votes she needed to lead Romania's current left-wing government, which the European Union has criticised over legislation that critics say will make it hard to prosecute high-level corruption.

Dancila has voiced support for the proposals, which have prompted public protests.

The legislation would ban the use of audio and video recordings in prosecutions. Other aspects include holding judges personally responsible for erroneous rulings, and making it possible to seek financial damages from them.

The previous two prime ministers were ousted because they were perceived as not toeing the ruling Social Democrat party line, and in particular not giving their full support to overhauling the justice system.

Iohannis had harsh words for the new government about the justice system and the economy, saying that there was a "red line" the government shouldn't cross.