Romanian reformist launches presidential bid

Romania’s former justice minister Monica Macovei, now an MEP, officially launched on August 5 her independent campaign for the presidential elections due in autumn, defying her party’s decision to go ahead with a different candidate.

Macovei, a member of the Democrat-Liberal party (PDL), is a well known public figure renowned for key judiciary and anti-corruption reforms passed when she was justice minister in 2004/07.

She decided to strike out on her own in the presidential race after PDL joined forces with the National-Liberal party (PNL), the largest opposition party in the Romanian parliament, and agreed on a joint candidate in November’s elections. The main contenders are Catalin Predoiu, another former justice minister, and Klaus Iohannis, mayor of Sibiu, a city in central Romania, and the favourite to win the nomination.

“Thousands of you have called on me to run in the race for Cotroceni (the presidential palace). I am now answering and running. It hasn’t been an easy choice, but it is a challenge I assume with determination and faith,” she said in a video launched last night in which she recalled the major reforms and decisions passed under her watch as justice minister and MEP, which include the creation of Romania’s anti-corruption prosecution DNA and her contribution to a EU directive on the confiscation of illegally obtained assets.

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