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Romanian senator demands anti-corruption prosecutor to stand down

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Romanian senator demands anti-corruption prosecutor to stand down

Demonstrators came out in the snow to protest the new laws
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Laws that allow corruption to go unpunished have been continuing to bring tens of thousands of people to the streets to demonstrate in Romania.

The laws curb the power of the National Anticorruption Directorate- Romania’s anti-corruption office- and now the social democrats want chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Kovesi to stand down.

Ms Kovesi is worried about the power the Romanian government now has over the legal system.

Ms Kovesi told Euronews: "If these proposals are in force, we cannot fight efficiently against corruption and our activity will be seriously affected. These amendments extent the authority of the Minister of Justice over the prosecutors' activity and cut some very useful investigative tools."

Transparency International ranks Romania as one of the most corrupt states in the EU and Brussels keeps its justice system under special monitoring.

A number of ruling coalition members currently face trial on corruption charges.

Ms Kovesi said that prosecutions usually come about by catching someone suspected of corruption in the act or ‘in flagranti’ and that these new measures will remove that element of spontaneity.

She said: "we cannot do this anymore - because we must announce the investigation to [the suspect]. In this situation the prosecutor will have to give a call [to the suspect] and say: Hi we have a complaint against you, we want to catch you in the act … and after that, it is obvious that we cannot catch [them] ..."

Since 2006 the prosecution unit has sent 72 members of parliament to trial.

Watch Euronews' exclusive report from Romania...