The former leader of Romania’s former ruling party, Liviu Dragnea, who was the country’s most powerful politician since his party won the parliamentary elections, in December 2016, until he was sent to jail, in May 2019, posted a message on Facebook on Romania’s National Day. In the message, Dragnea expresses his great love for the country and claims he even sacrificed his freedom for Romania.
“My dear country,
I have fully respected your traditions, I have celebrated you on every occasion, I have carried you in my soul anywhere in the world, I have been proud of you everywhere and I have dedicated my whole life to you.
For your sake, I sacrificed everything and did what I knew best to help you grow big, be rich and strong.
I gave up many moments with my family, I missed many events in the life of my children, I finally even gave up freedom, for your sake!” Dragnea wrote.
He says he fought so that Romanian children eat local, healthy and natural food, the country’s elders regain their dignity, and the forests remain in the country.
“I wanted to see the fields of Romania full of grain and the Romanian economy as it grows, I wanted to show it to all those who doubt you that you can!
You can be everything that they never let you become, you can be everything that Romanian children dream that you could be!
I still wish you all this and I still believe in you.
No matter how much hardship I have to go through, no matter how hard they try to make me dislike you, I will never give up on loving you and believing in you!” he added.
Liviu Dragnea, who was president of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) from July 2015 until May 2019, led his party to victory in the local elections and parliamentary elections in 2016 with a populist agenda that included wage and pension increases, and bigger state involvement in the economy, and a public discourse in which multinationals were accused of acting against the interests of Romania and its people.
After coming to power, Dragnea and his party started changing the laws of justice and the criminal codes, aiming to reduce the influence of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and make it more difficult for politicians to get sent to court and to jail for corruption. The changes sparked unprecedented street protests and outraged Romania’s international partners. The progresses Romania previously recorded in judicial reform and the fight against corruption were undone in just two years and, as a result, the European Commission recommended this year to keep the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) on Romania and lift it for Bulgaria.
Due to his policies, international publications used to compare Dragnea to the illiberal leaders in Poland and Hungary.
Dragnea was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, at the end of May, for abuse of office. He was also removed from the helm of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which lost the elections for the European Parliament, in May, was removed from the Government in October, and lost the presidential elections in November. Former prime minister Viorica Dancila, Dragnea’s former protegee, was removed from the PSD helm after losing the presidential elections.
(Photo source: Liviu Dragnea Facebook page)