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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Romania's New Leaders Targeting Corruption

BUCHAREST, Romania -- When new leaders took over Romania in the country's first democratic transfer of power, they pledged to eradicate the corruption that characterized the rule of former Communist Ion Iliescu.


So far -- three months into the job -- they've kept their word.


Police have arrested prominent leaders from Iliescu's government and others with close ties to it, as prosecutors continue their investigation. Emil Constantinescu -- the political newcomer who won November's historic presidential election -- is making it clear that times have changed.


"The time has come for you to draw a clear line between the prosecutor's office of today and the prosecutor's office of Communist times," he told prosecutors and judges recently.


Constantinescu said he would not tolerate delays in solving major crimes and called corruption unacceptable.


For Constantinescu, it is not only a matter of establishing that his administration will be different -- it is a matter of restoring the reputation of the government as a whole. He promised, however, that the effort to root out corruption would not turn into a political witch hunt.


"There is no way back," wrote Dumitru Tinu, editor-in-chief of the Adevarul newspaper. "Any hesitation, any going back, any false movement could be fatal."