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Liviu Dragnea

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Liviu Dragnea
Victor Ponta la semnarea declaratiei politice privind infiintarea USL 2.0 - 14.11 (3) (15621867427) (cropped).jpg
President of the Chamber of Deputies
Assumed office
21 December 2016
Preceded by Florin Iordache (Interim)
President of Social Democratic Party
Assumed office
12 October 2015
Acting: 22 July 2015 – 12 October 2015
Preceded by Rovana Plumb (Acting)
Deputy Prime Minister of Romania
In office
21 December 2012 – 17 December 2014
Minister of Regional Development and Administration
In office
21 December 2012 – 15 May 2015
Prime Minister Victor Ponta
Preceded by Eduard Hellvig
Succeeded by Sevil Shhaideh
Minister of Administration and Interior
In office
20 January 2009 – 2 February 2009
Premier Emil Boc
Preceded by Gabriel Oprea
Succeeded by Dan Nica
Personal details
Born Liviu Nicolae Dragnea
(1962-10-28) October 28, 1962 (age 54)
Gratia, Teleorman County
Political party Democratic Party (1996–2000)
Social Democratic Party (2000–present)
Spouse(s) Bombonica Dragnea (Divorced 2015)
Alma mater Carol I National Defence University
Ecological University of Bucharest
Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest

Liviu Nicolae Dragnea (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈlivju nikoˈla.e ˈdraɡne̯a]; born October 28, 1962) is a Romanian engineer and politician. The leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and a former member of the Democratic Party (PD), he was Minister of Administration and Interior in the Emil Boc cabinet in January–February 2009. He has represented Teleorman County in the Chamber of Deputies since December 2012, when he also became deputy prime minister and Minister of Administration and Regional Development. He resigned from the cabinet in May 2015, following a conviction in a case involving electoral fraud, for which he received a two-year suspended sentence in April 2016. Following the December 2016 parliamentary election, he became President of the Chamber of Deputies.

Biography

Origins and local government career

Dragnea was born in Gratia, Teleorman County, and after completing secondary studies at Unirea Mathematics-Physics High School in Turnu Măgurele in 1981, enrolled at the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest. He graduated from the Transport faculty in 1987. He also studied at the Public Administration School of the Italian Ministry of the Interior (1997), the Faculty of Management and Public Administration at the Ecological University of Bucharest (2003) and the Carol I National Defence University (2004).[1] Dragnea's political career began in 1996, when he was elected a city councilor in Turnu Măgurele.[2] From 1996 to 2000, while Dragnea was a member of the PD, he served as prefect of Teleorman County; he then switched to the PSD, which won the 2000 election.[3] In 2000, he became president of the Teleorman County Council,[4] being re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012.[3][5] He is a member of the PSD's permanent national bureau and of the party's Teleorman County chapter.[1] In 2006, he was elected party vice president for state reform and decentralisation (suspending himself from the position after the failure of that year's presidential impeachment referendum[6]), and he led the PSD's campaign at the 2007 European Parliament election.[7] Following the 2008 parliamentary election, for which he helped run the campaign,[4] he was named coordinator of PSD ministers in the Boc cabinet, charged with maintaining links between ministers and the party leadership.[1]

Beginning in the 2000s, Dragnea was characterised as a "local baron" with a powerful influence within the PSD.[8] For instance, in 2006, he was one of the individuals who forced Adrian Năstase to resign as party head and Chamber of Deputies president.[3] Moreover, his wealth and business dealings have drawn attention: as of late 2008, he had eight landholdings (including in Azuga and Năvodari), an apartment, two residences and a vacation house, a hotel, an inn, and two commercial venues in Turnu Măgurele.[8] Fear of losing control over this Teleorman County "empire" was cited as yet another possible motive for his resignation.[9] He was accused by the National Anticorruption Directorate of falsifying documents while attempting to access European Union funds for building a new border checkpoint with Bulgaria, but charges were later dropped[3] without much explanation.[4] Controversy arose too during his first term as county council president. In 2001, the council privatised a state construction firm at a very low price. Dragnea's personal driver won it at auction, and Dragnea awarded the firm many public contracts for road construction, some of these being considered overvalued. In 2004, he was accused by high-ranking PD members of having bought a hotel for 800 million lei (some $27,000) and reselling it for 40 billion lei (around $1.3 million) to his driver's firm, before regaining the property. Also that year, he was blamed for wasting public money by having the council sponsor a basketball club.[3]

As cabinet minister

In January 2009, following the resignation of Gabriel Oprea, Dragnea was named Interior Minister. He announced his priorities as being the safety of children in school, the safety of citizens on the street, decentralisation and administrative reform.[3] Twelve days later, he resigned,[10] citing a lack of resources and funds to implement his plans. There was speculation that he was forced out by party president Mircea Geoană and Sector 5 Mayor Marian Vanghelie for refusing to name an individual suggested by the latter as a secretary of state at the ministry. Also, his brief tenure was rocked by an armed robbery in Braşov and an arms theft from a depot in Ciorogârla. He remained county council president at the time[11] and continued to be a vehement critic of the PSD—PD-L alliance (which he opposed from the start[4]), referring to Transport Minister Radu Berceanu as a "nitwit" and to Prime Minister Boc as a "whippersnapper".[12] He became secretary general of the PSD in July 2009.[13]

At the December 2012 parliamentary election, Dragnea won a seat for Teleorman County with 71.5% of the vote.[14] Later that month, he resigned his position in the county council,[2] and was named Regional Development Minister as well as one of three deputy premiers to Prime Minister Victor Ponta.[15] Simultaneously, he left the county council leadership.[16] In early 2013, he left the party secretary general position, soon becoming executive president.[17] Following a cabinet reshuffle in December 2014, he lost the deputy premiership but retained the Regional Development portfolio.[18] In May 2015, he was convicted of orchestrating electoral fraud during the 2012 presidential impeachment referendum and given a one-year suspended sentence. As a result, he resigned as Regional Development Minister.[19]

Social Democratic leadership and Chamber presidency

That July, following Ponta's resignation as PSD president, Dragnea ran to replace him on an interim basis, and defeated Rovana Plumb on a 65-18 margin.[20] In October, he was the sole candidate to run for party leader in a ballot open to all party members; 97% voted in his favor.[21] In April 2016, the High Court of Cassation and Justice pronounced a final verdict in the electoral fraud case, doubling Dragnea's initial sentence to two years.[22]

In the December 2016 parliamentary election, Dragnea retained his own seat in the Chamber while leading the PSD to victory.[23][24] He was subsequently elected Chamber President.[25] The same month, he and his former wife were indicted for abuse of public office and forgery allegedly committed during his time as Teleorman County Council president.[26]

Personal life

Dragnea and his wife Bombonica had two children prior to their divorce in 2015.[27] Dragnea is a member of the Romanian Orthodox Church.[28]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea, de la Prefectură şi Consiliul Judeţean Teleorman la MAI" ("Liviu Dragnea, from the Teleorman Prefecture and County Council to the Interior Ministry"), Mediafax, 19 January 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  2. ^ a b (Romanian) Claudiu Dumitrache, "Liviu Dragnea demisionează de la Consiliul Judeţean Teleorman" ("Liviu Dragnea Resigns from Teleorman County Council"), Adevărul, 17 December 2012; accessed January 18, 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f (Romanian) Costel Oprea and Simona Popescu, "Dragnea, şef la Interne" ("Dragnea, Interior Boss"), România Liberă, 20 January 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  4. ^ a b c d (Romanian) "Dragnea, un ministru de Interne cercetat în trecut de DNA" ("Dragnea, an Interior Minister Investigated by DNA in the Past"), Ziua, 19 January 2009; accessed June 24, 2009
  5. ^ (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea a depus jurământul pentru al patrulea mandat" ("Liviu Dragnea Takes Oath for Fourth Term"), Adevărul, 18 June 2012; accessed January 18, 2013
  6. ^ (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea se autosuspendă din funcţia de vicepreşedinte PSD" ("Liviu Dragnea Suspends Himself as PSD Vice President"), România Liberă, 21 May 2007; accessed June 23, 2009
  7. ^ (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea, validat pentru funcţia de ministru de Interne" ("Liviu Dragnea, Approved as Interior Minister"), Jurnalul Naţional, 19 January 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  8. ^ a b (Romanian) Dan Duca, "Baronul PSD Liviu Dragnea bate pas de defilare spre MAI" ("PSD Baron Liviu Dragnea Marches toward Interior Ministry"), Cotidianul, 13 January 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  9. ^ (Romanian) Diana Lazăr, "Imperiul din Teleorman pentru care Dragnea a abandonat Internele" ("Teleorman Empire for Which Dragnea Abandoned Interior"), Cotidianul, 8 February 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  10. ^ (Romanian) Costel Oprea, "Liviu Dragnea a esuat in trecerea administratiei in mana baronilor locali" ("Liviu Dragnea's Attempt to Transfer Administration to Local Barons Fails"), România Liberă, 4 February 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  11. ^ (Romanian) Dan Cărbunaru, "Liviu Dragnea demisionează de la conducerea Internelor. Motivul real: numirile şefilor de la Interne" ("Liviu Dragnea Resigns from Interior Leadership. Real Motive: Naming of Bosses at Interior"), Gândul, 3 February 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
  12. ^ (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea avea probleme cu democraţii încă din 2007" ("Liviu Dragnea Had Problems with the Democrats since 2007"), Ziua, 22 June 2009; accessed June 23, 2009[dead link]
  13. ^ (Romanian) "PSD: Dragnea, secretar general, Hrebenciuc, coordonator al campaniei prezidenţiale" ("PSD: Dragnea, Secretary General, Hrebenciuc, Presidential Campaign Coordinator"), Jurnalul Naţional, 21 July 2009; accessed January 18, 2013
  14. ^ (Romanian) Răzvan Cârcu, "Dragnea, întrecut de fosta secretară în vârstă de 23 de ani" ("Dragnea, Surpassed by His 23-year-old Former Secretary"), Adevărul, 10 December 2012; accessed January 18, 2013
  15. ^ (Romanian) Claudiu Dumitrache, "Liviu Dragnea va fi viceprim-ministru şi ministru al Administraţiei şi Dezvoltării Regionale" ("Liviu Dragnea Will Be Deputy Prime Minister and Administration and Regional Development Minister"), Adevărul, 17 December 2012; accessed January 18, 2013
  16. ^ (Romanian) "Liviu Dragnea, de la şefia CJ Teleorman, la vicepremier, ministru, om-cheie în PSD" ("Liviu Dragnea, from Teleorman County Council Presidency, to Deputy Premier, Minister, Key PSD Figure"), Mediafax, 15 May 2015; accessed October 12, 2015
  17. ^ (Romanian) Andreea Udrea, "Dragnea devine numărul doi în PSD" ("Dragnea Becomes PSD Number Two"), Evenimentul Zilei, 6 February 2013; accessed October 12, 2015
  18. ^ (Romanian) Liviu Dădăcuş, "Dragnea pierde funcţia de vicepremier" ("Dragnea Loses Deputy Prime Minister Post"), Mediafax, 14 December 2014; accessed December 14, 2014
  19. ^ (Romanian) Cristian Andrei, "Liviu Dragnea a demisionat" ("Liviu Dragnea Resigns"), Gândul, 15 May 2015; accessed May 19, 2015
  20. ^ (Romanian) Mădălina Mihalache, "Liviu Dragnea, şef la PSD cu binecuvântarea lui Ion Iliescu" ("Liviu Dragnea, PSD Head with Ion Iliescu's Blessing"), Adevărul, 22 July 2015; accessed July 23, 2015
  21. ^ (Romanian) Ștefan Pană, "Liviu Dragnea, ales preşedinte al PSD cu 97% din voturile membrilor de partid" ("Liviu Dragnea, Elected PSD President with 97% of Party Members' Votes"), Mediafax, 12 October 2015; accessed October 12, 2015
  22. ^ (Romanian) Petriana Condruț, Andreea Traicu, "Liviu Dragnea, condamnat la doi ani de închisoare cu suspendare în dosarul Referendumului" ("Liviu Dragnea, Sentenced to Two Years' Suspended Imprisonment in Referendum Case"), Mediafax, 22 April 2016; accessed April 22, 2016
  23. ^ (Romanian) "Profil de parlamentar: Liviu Dragnea, deputat PSD Teleorman" ("MP Profile: Liviu Dragnea, PSD Deputy for Teleorman"), Agerpres, 18 December 2016; accessed December 19, 2016
  24. ^ (Romanian) Roxana Petre, "Liviu Dragnea, după primele rezultate la alegerile parlamentare" ("Liviu Dragnea, after the First Results of the Parliamentary Elections"), România Liberă, 12 December 2016; accessed December 19, 2016
  25. ^ (Romanian) Cătălina Mănoiu, Mădălina Dârvaru, "Camera Deputaţilor şi-a ales conducerea" ("Chamber of Deputies Elects Its Leadership"), Mediafax, 21 December 2016; accessed December 21, 2016
  26. ^ (Romanian) Andreea Traicu, "Instanţa supremă a decis să înceapă judecata în dosarul lui Liviu Dragnea" ("High Court Decides to Begin Case against Liviu Dragnea"), Mediafax, 9 December 2016; accessed January 24, 2017
  27. ^ (Romanian) Ștefan Pană, "Bombonica Dragnea a fost audiată de procurorii DNA" ("Bombonica Dragnea Deposed by DNA Prosecutors"), Evenimentul Zilei, 24 March 2016; accessed March 25, 2016
  28. ^ (Romanian) Sebastian Zachmann, "Dragnea, despre impozitarea afacerilor Bisericii" ("Dragnea, on Taxing Church Affairs"), Adevărul, 17 November 2013; accessed December 29, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Gabriel Oprea
Minister of Administration and Interior
2009
Succeeded by
Dan Nica
Preceded by
Eduard Hellvig
Minister of Regional Development and Administration
2012–2015
Succeeded by
Sevil Shhaideh
Party political offices
Preceded by
Valeriu Zgonea
Acting
Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Andrei Dolineaschi
Preceded by
Victor Ponta
President of the Social Democratic Party
2015–present
Incumbent
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