Romanian President Klaus Iohannis yesterday fired the National Anticorruption Directorate’s chief prosecutor Laura Codruţa Kovesi under intense, unrelenting pressure from the parliamentary majority. Although article 133 of the Romanian Constitution protects public prosecutors from parliamentary whims, in a head-scratching decision May 30 Romania’s Constitutional Court ruled that the president must heed a directive by the Justice Minister ordering him to fire Kovesi. Iohanis had initially resisted, but the parliamentary majority demanded he obey the Justice Minister’s directive — even after citizens demonstrated in Kovesi’s favor and the European Union signaled its support for her. Indeed, in recent days the majority made it clear that if Iohannis refused to obey the order, it would impeach him. Iohanis relented early Monday morning, July 9, signing a decree terminating Codruţa Kovesi.
Codruţa Kovesi issued a statement later in the day defending her agency’s record combating corruption, voicing the concerns of many that her dismissal will undermine the fight against corruption by subordinating prosecutors to parliament, and urging all Romanians not to give up the struggle against corruption. The full text of her remarks (her own English version) are below.