Applications for one of Romania’s most prestigious jobs close on Monday, but there’s just one problem: nobody has applied.
The role of chief anti-corruption prosecutor, one of the country’s most scrutinised positions, was advertised after Laura Codruta Kovesi was fired for alleged misconduct on 9 July.
But with hours to go until the vacancy closed, it emerged that no one has thrown their hat into the ring.
Justice minister Tudorel Toader, who engineered Ms Kovesi’s departure, suggested potential candidates had not applied because they believed the selection process was rigged – with Mr Toader stressing that this is not the case.
He also suspects prosecutors do not want the job because they know how much work is necessary to make Romania’s Anti-Corruption Directorate (known as DNA for short) function well.
Ms Kovesi’s dismissal raised concerns at home and abroad about the country’s commitment to fighting corruption – with critics saying it was a bid by the government to rein in the anti-corruption fight.
Upon her appointment in 2006, Ms Kovesi was the first woman and the youngest prosecutor general in Romania’s history.
Her tenure as head of the DNA substantially increased public confidence in the institution – both within Romania and across the EU.
Mr Toader accused Ms Kovesi of being authoritarian – claiming prosecutors under her command had falsified evidence and that an inordinate number of defendants had been acquitted.
Under Ms Kovesi’s leadership, the DNA made notable progress against high-level corruption – prosecuting dozens of mayors, five MPs, two ex-ministers and former prime minister Victor Ponta in 2014 alone.
Ponta came under a DNA criminal investigation in July 2015 for forgery and money laundering.
He accused Ms Kovesi of being “a totally unprofessional prosecutor trying to make a name by inventing and imagining facts and untrue situations from 10 years ago” on his Facebook page.
Ms Kovesi denied any wrongdoing.