Romania’s Social Democrat government on Thursday, Dec. 20, faced a no-confidence vote over a contentious judicial overhaul that opposition politicians said has harmed the rule of law and democracy in this European Union member nation.

Ahead of the vote, Premier Viorica Dancila told lawmakers she would not comment on the overhaul as the laws were “adopted by Parliament.” She rebuked the EU for criticizing it.

“I will never be accountable abroad for things which belong to the country’s sovereignty and dignity,” she said.

But Dan Barna, who leads the opposition Save Romania Union, said the government’s top priority was to “get the criminals out of prison.”

Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea is pressing the government to give amnesty to “thousands of people” he claims were wrongly imprisoned by anti-corruption prosecutors.

During the parliamentary session, opposition lawmakers displayed banners saying “Resign!” and “Don’t pass an emergency decree,” referring to reports that the government was planning to quickly approve an amnesty.

Dragnea, who cannot be prime minister due to a conviction for vote-rigging, effectively runs the government. His ally Dancila was virtually unknown before she became premier in January.

Romania assumes the EU’s rotating presidency on Jan. 1.

Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila attends a parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila at a Parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila gestures during a parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila during a Parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila, right, gestures during a parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila (R), during a Parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)
Finance Minister Eugene Teodorovici, left, gestures while speaking to Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila during a parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Finance Minister Eugene Teodorovici (L), with Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila during a Parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila takes her seat during a parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Romanian Premier Viorica Dancila during a Parliament session debating a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)
Head of the Ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, gestures as he joins a parliament session during a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Head of the Ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, at a Parliament session during a no-confidence vote initiated by opposition parties in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo)

Source: The Associated Press

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