Romanian parliament lifts immunity of two ministers

RomaniaBucharest - Romania's parliament Tuesday voted to lift prosecution immunity for Labour Minister Paul Pacuraru and former economics minister Codrut Seres who are the target of corruption investigations.

Both politicians, who are also members of the upper chamber, now face possible prosecution on corruption charges. Additionally, Seres is suspected of "espionage" in connection with some energy business deals.

Pacuraru, a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL) voted in favour of lifting his own immunity. Seres, of the co-ruling Conservative Party (PC), abstained in the vote.

The parliamentary vote to lift the two politicians' immunity comes almost two weeks after bills seeking the prosecution of former premier Adrian Nastase and former transportation minister Miron Mitrea failed to clear parliament. Both politicians are accused of corruption by the country's prosecutors.

The parliamentary votes come in the wake of a recent European Union Commission report criticising the Romanian parliament for systematically thwarting the prosecution of politicians.

Like neighbouring Bulgaria, Romania is under special EU scrutiny for corruption practices. (dpa)