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Romanian ministers resign amid corruption probe

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Romanian ministers resign amid corruption probe

Romania's ruling Social Democrat government has accepted the cabinet shakeup proposed by Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, a move that resulted in the resignation of three ministers, multiple media reported.

The six-hour meeting of the governing party held Oct. 12 culminated in the resignations of deputy prime minister Sevil Shhaideh, EU funds minister Rovana Plumb and transport minister Razvan Cuc. Shhaideh and Plumb are accused of abuse of office in a land transfer case.

Tudose threatened to resign during the meeting if the Social Democrats rejected the proposed reshuffle, Deutsche Welle said. Party members accepted the reorganization rather than risk the collapse of the three-month-old government.

The prime minister earlier said the corruption allegations involving Shhaideh and Plumb have affected how the government's credibility is perceived by the European Commission. "The reality is the presumption of innocence, but the perception in Brussels is completely different," Tudose told reporters on Oct. 11. The government is under pressure from the ruling party to pursue its ambitious program which involve tax cuts, public sector wage and pension hikes, as well as a judicial overhaul that could imperil magistrates' independence, Reuters said.

Tudose also said that the allegations have strained his relations with party leader Liviu Dragnea. According to Romania-Insider.com, Shhaideh is a close ally of Dragnea and was a candidate for the premiership back in June. Her appointment was quashed by centrist President Klaus Iohannis.