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Liviu Dragnea

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Liviu Dragnea
Dragnea in 2014
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
21 December 2016 – 27 May 2019
Preceded byFlorin Iordache (interim)
Succeeded byMarcel Ciolacu
President of the Social Democratic Party
In office
12 October 2015 – 27 May 2019
Acting: 22 July 2015 – 12 October 2015
Preceded byRovana Plumb (acting)
Succeeded byViorica Dăncilă (acting)
Deputy Prime Minister of Romania
In office
21 December 2012 – 17 December 2014
PresidentTraian Băsescu
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byFlorin Georgescu
Succeeded byDaniel Chițoiu
Minister of Regional Development and Administration
In office
21 December 2012 – 15 May 2015
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byEduard Hellvig
Succeeded bySevil Shhaideh
Minister of Administration and Interior
In office
20 January 2009 – 2 February 2009
Prime MinisterEmil Boc
Preceded byDan Nica (interim)
Succeeded byDan Nica
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
20 December 2012 – 29 May 2019
Personal details
Liviu Nicolae Dragnea

(1962-10-28) 28 October 1962 (age 61)
Gratia, Teleorman, Romania
Political partySovereign Romania Movement Party (since 2023)[1]
Other political
Democratic Party (1996–2000)
Social Democratic Party (2000–2019)
Alliance for the Homeland (2021-2022)
Bombonica Prodana
(div. 2015)
Domestic partnerIrina Alexandra Tănase
Alma materCarol I National Defence University
Ecological University of Bucharest
Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest

Liviu Nicolae Dragnea (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈlivju nikoˈla.e ˈdraɡne̯a]; born 28 October 1962) is a Romanian engineer and former politician. Starting his career in the Democratic Party (PD), he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD), eventually becoming its leader. After holding several positions as Minister, 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.

In December 2016, following that year's legislative election, he became President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania, but was rumoured by the press to be the de facto Prime Minister of Romania.[2][3][4][5][6] During this period, Romania experienced a strong economic growth,[7][8][9] but his rule was marked by corruption scandals[10] and accusations of authoritarian tendencies,[11][12] as well as a shift towards illiberalism,[13][14][15] which led to the biggest protests in Romania's post-revolutionary history. In May 2019, he was sent to prison for three and a half years, convicted of arranging payment for two party members employed in fake jobs and paid by a state agency. Simultaneously, his term in the Chamber drew to a close. In July 2021, the prison sentence was lifted, ending his jail time 1 year and 4 months earlier.


Early life and education[edit]

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).[16]

Local government career[edit]

Dragnea's political career began in 1996, when he was elected a city councilor in Turnu Măgurele.[17]

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.[18] In 2000, he became president of the Teleorman County Council,[19] being re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012.[18][20] He is a member of the PSD's permanent national bureau and of the party's Teleorman County chapter.[16] 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[21]), and he led the PSD's campaign at the 2007 European Parliament election.[22] Following the 2008 parliamentary election, for which he helped run the campaign,[19] he was named coordinator of PSD ministers in the Boc cabinet, charged with maintaining links between ministers and the party leadership.[16]

Legal and other controversies[edit]

Beginning in the 2000s, Dragnea was characterised as a "local baron" with a powerful influence within the PSD.[23] For instance, in 2006, he was one of the individuals who forced Adrian Năstase to resign as party head and Chamber of Deputies president.[18] 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.[23] Fear of losing control over this Teleorman County "empire" was cited as yet another possible motive for his resignation.[24]

Dragnea in 2014

He was accused by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) of falsifying documents while attempting to access European Union (EU) funds for building a new border checkpoint with Bulgaria, but charges were later dropped[18] without much explanation.[19] 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.[18]

As cabinet minister[edit]

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.[18] Twelve days later, he resigned,[25] 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[26] and continued to be a vehement critic of the PSD—PDL alliance (which he opposed from the start[19]), referring to Transport Minister Radu Berceanu as a "nitwit" and to Prime Minister Boc as a "whippersnapper".[27] He became secretary general of the PSD in July 2009.[28]

At the December 2012 parliamentary election, Dragnea won a seat for Teleorman County with 71.5% of the vote.[29] Later that month, he resigned his position in the county council,[17] and was named Regional Development Minister as well as one of three deputy premiers to Prime Minister Victor Ponta.[30] Simultaneously, he left the county council leadership.[31] In early 2013, he left the party secretary general position, soon becoming executive president.[32] Following a cabinet reshuffle in December 2014, he lost the deputy premiership but retained the Regional Development portfolio.[33]

Social Democratic leadership[edit]

Dragnea in June 2014

In July 2015, 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.[34] 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.[35]

In the December 2016 parliamentary election, Dragnea retained his own seat in the Chamber while leading the PSD to victory.[36][37] He was subsequently elected Chamber President.[38]

Through Elliott Broidy's efforts, Dragnea and another Romanian politician met President Donald Trump at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during inauguration week in January 2017 after which Dragnea, who wanted a close relationship between Romania and the United States, posted on his facebook page that President Trump said "We will make it happen! Romania is important for us!" Broidy was attempting to gain contracts between his Virginia-based private security company Circinus and the Romanian government.[39][40]

Convictions for electoral fraud[edit]

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.[41]

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, suspended.[42]

EU fraud case and investigation in Brazil[edit]

In November 2017, the DNA opened a third case against Dragnea, based on information compiled by the European Anti-Fraud Office. He is alleged to have formed part of a criminal conspiracy, formed in 2001 involving, the fraudulent redirection of EU funds worth 20 million.[43]

In March 2018, RISE Project and Folha de São Paulo revealed that Liviu Dragnea would have been investigated in Brazil for money laundering.[44] According to Federal Prosecutor Carlos Wagner Barbosa Guimarães, Dragnea would have used intertwines – "oranges" – to wash money and acquire property on the beach of Cumbuco, 30 kilometers from Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará.[45] In Portuguese, laranja (orange) is the term that designates interlopers, people who are brought forward by corrupt or criminal politicians to hide their involvement in various business.[46] Dragnea said the information on the Brazilian investigation is false.[47]

Convictions for incitement to abuse of office[edit]

In December 2016, he and his former wife were indicted for abuse of public office and forgery allegedly committed during his time as Teleorman County Council president.[48]

Dragnea was convicted on 21 June 2018 by the High Court of Cassation and Justice for incitement to abuse of office as chairman of the Teleorman County Council. He has received a prison sentence of 3 years and 6 months.[49] On 27 May 2019 the sentence was upheld on appeal by the High Court of Cassation and Justice,[50] and Dragnea was jailed in Rahova Prison on the same day.[51]

On 15 July 2021, 2 years and 2 months later, the Giurgiu Court admitted Dragnea's request for conditional release from prison, thus ending jail time earlier by 1 year and 4 months. Before this admission, Dragnea had also won several trials with the Rahova Prison for the violation of multiple rights throughout the jail time, most notably the right to work (lifted by the prison leadership immediately after his 2020 online interview to TV channel Realitatea Plus) and to healthcare.[52] The interdictions set by the High Court of Cassation and Justice forbid Dragnea from holding any public position involving the exercise of state authority and from being a candidate for a public elective position for another 3 years after the release (until 2024).[53]

In 2021, Dragnea announced the creation of the Alliance for the Homeland party.[54] While he is not a member of the party (because of the legal restrictions), he was considered its de facto ruler.[55] In May 2022, Dragnea received the "Iuliu Maniu Medal" from PNȚCD president Aurelian Pavelescu, the latter saying that a possible alliance between the two parties for the next Romanian legislative election might be possible.[56] However, in September 2022, the Alliance for the Homeland distanced itself from Dragnea.[57]

In early 2023, Dragnea started uploading on Youtube cooking tutorial videos, presented by himself.[58][59][60]

In May 2023, Dragnea announced that he backs a new party, headed by Carmen Dan: the Sovereign Romania Movement Party.[61][62][63]

Personal life[edit]

Dragnea and his wife Bombonica had two children prior to their divorce in 2015.[64]

Since May 2016, Dragnea is engaged to Irina Alexandra Tănase, his former secretary, who is 30 years younger than him.[65]

Dragnea is a member of the Romanian Orthodox Church.[66]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Partidul Mișcarea România Suverană s-a lansat oficial. Igor Istrati, președintele filialei județene: "Românii care vor o Românie liberă, suverană și normală au acum unde se aduna"". 27 March 2023.
  2. ^ ""Ajunge! Guvernul Dragnea-Dăncilă este ruşinea României", moțiunea de cenzură pe care o pregătește opoziția pentru vineri". 12 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Ponta: A fost Guvernul Dragnea 1, acum este Guvernul Dragnea 2". 28 June 2017.
  4. ^ Walker, Shaun; Rankin, Jennifer (8 May 2019). "'His ideology is himself': The shadowy figure calling the shots in Romania". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "Comment: The rise and fall of Liviu Dragnea, the most powerful politician sent to jail in Romania". 27 May 2019.
  6. ^ Gillet, Kit; Santora, Marc (27 May 2019). "Romania's Most Powerful Man is Sent to Prison for Corruption". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "L. Dragnea: Economia a crescut într-un ritm mai mare decât putem dezvolta drumurile". 2 March 2019.
  8. ^ https://romania.europalibera.org/a/cre%C8%99terea-economic%C4%83-de-25-pe-ce-%C8%99i-a-bazat-dragnea-calculele-/29736420.html
  9. ^ "Creşterea economică a României cu care se mândresc PSD, Liviu Dragnea şi Marian Oprişan şi din care pot scădea majorările de salarii în administraţia publică şi de pensii este susţinută şi de banii trimişi în ţară de "curve, hoţi şi cerşetori". Întrebarea este dacă PSD sau judeţele roşii au creat o economie locală şi un loc care să-i întoarcă pe aceştia acasă şi să le schimbe situaţia?".
  10. ^ "Amplu reportaj despre proteste, Dragnea și scandalurile sale de corupție la televiziunea publică din Germania". 21 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Gheorghiu Liviu Dragnea controleaza autoritar PSD si Guvernul prin folosirea unor persoane incompetente".
  12. ^ "Cătălin Ivan, ATAC la Dragnea: Stil autoritar. Multor colegi le e frică și să-i PRONUNȚE numele".
  13. ^ "Comment: The rise and fall of Liviu Dragnea, the most powerful politician sent to jail in Romania". 27 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Liviu Dragnea, Brussels' oncoming 'illiberal' headache". 20 June 2018.
  15. ^ https://romania.europalibera.org/a/riscul-democra%C8%9Biei-iliberale-in-romania-modelul-ungariei/31965186.html
  16. ^ a b c (in 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
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  26. ^ (in 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") Archived 2009-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, Gândul, 3 February 2009; accessed June 23, 2009
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  30. ^ (in 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
  31. ^ (in 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
  32. ^ (in Romanian) Andreea Udrea, "Dragnea devine numărul doi în PSD" ("Dragnea Becomes PSD Number Two"), Evenimentul Zilei, 6 February 2013; accessed October 12, 2015
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  35. ^ (in 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
  36. ^ (in Romanian) "Profil de parlamentar: Liviu Dragnea, deputat PSD Teleorman" ("MP Profile: Liviu Dragnea, PSD Deputy for Teleorman") Archived 2023-03-12 at the Wayback Machine, Agerpres, 18 December 2016; accessed December 19, 2016
  37. ^ (in Romanian) Roxana Petre, "Liviu Dragnea, după primele rezultate la alegerile parlamentare" ("Liviu Dragnea, after the First Results of the Parliamentary Elections") Archived 2016-12-13 at the Wayback Machine, România Liberă, 12 December 2016; accessed December 19, 2016
  38. ^ (in 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
  39. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P.; Kirkpatrick, David D. (25 March 2018). "Fund-Raiser Held Out Access to Trump as a Prize for Prospective Clients". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  40. ^ Biddle, Sam (22 June 2018). "Trump Insider Wanted to Sell Social Media Surveillance Tools to Abusive Governments, Leaked Documents Suggest". The Intercept. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
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  42. ^ (in 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
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  44. ^ Flávio Ferreira (9 March 2018). "Líder político romeno é investigado por compra de imóveis em praia cearense". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese).
  45. ^ "RISE Project: Liviu Dragnea, anchetat în Brazilia pentru spălare de bani. Reacția șefului PSD: "Informațiile sunt false"". Adevărul (in Romanian). 9 March 2018.
  46. ^ "Liviu Dragnea: anchetat în Brazilia pentru portocale". RISE Project (in Romanian). 9 March 2018.
  47. ^ Claudia Spridon (9 March 2018). "Liviu Dragnea neagă informațiile RISE Project privind ancheta din Brazilia: "M-au prins vânzând portocale pe plajă"". Adevărul (in Romanian).
  48. ^ (in 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
  49. ^ "Liviu Dragnea a fost condamnat la 3 ani si 6 luni de inchisoare cu executare".
  50. ^ "Dragnea a fost condamnat definitiv la 3 ani si 6 luni cu executare. Chiar azi va ajunge la puscarie". Ziare.com (in Romanian). 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  51. ^ "Romania corruption: PSD chief Liviu Dragnea jailed". BBC News. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  52. ^ "Liviu Dragnea iese din închisoare. Tribunalul Giurgiu a admis cererea de eliberare condiționată" [Liviu Dragnea leaves prison. The Giurgiu Court admitted the request of conditional release]. Digi24 (in Romanian). 15 July 2021. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  53. ^ "Dragnea este liber, acum, dar cu interdicții. Până în 2024, nu mai are dreptul să fie ales sau să ocupe funcții publice" [Dragnea is now free, but with interdictions. Until 2024, he no longer has the right to be elected or to hold public positions]. Mediafax (in Romanian). Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  54. ^ https://balkaninsight.com/2021/09/21/romanias-former-leftist-leader-backs-new-nationalist-party/
  55. ^ "Dragnea întărește rândurile. Trei foști lideri PSD s-au înscris în APP". 12 October 2021.
  56. ^ https://infocultural.eu/pntcd-i-a-inmanat-lui-liviu-dragnea-medalia-omagiala-iuliu-maniu/
  57. ^ "Ruptură definitivă între APP și Liviu Dragnea. Membrii care se pozează cu fostul lider social-democrat vor fi excluși din partid".
  58. ^ "Romania's kitchen nightmares! Controversial ex-party chief launches cooking show". 4 April 2023.
  59. ^ "Former PSD leader Liviu Dragnea launches cooking channel on YouTube". 3 April 2023.
  60. ^ "Romania's former top politician Liviu Dragnea now presenting YouTube cookery channel". 4 April 2023.
  61. ^ "The Sovereignist Movement: The Case of Romania".
  62. ^ "Noul partid pe care-l susține Liviu Dragnea. Cine a înființat Mișcarea România Suverană". May 2023.
  63. ^ "Liviu Dragnea, despre noul său partid: Sper ca românii să nu voteze în funcție de mărime". May 2023.
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  65. ^ Ana Maria Șimon (12 March 2018). "Cine e iubita lui Liviu Dragnea?". OK Magazine (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  66. ^ (in 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 Minister of Administration and Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Regional Development and Administration
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Chamber of Deputies
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Andrei Dolineaschi
Preceded by President of the Social Democratic Party
Succeeded by