Tinder match, parallel state: social media reactions to Liviu Dragnea’s conviction

As Romania’s most powerful politician, Liviu Dragnea has earned his share of opponents. And criticism to his policies and personality often centres around social media. Predictably, there was delight as the head of the Social Democrat Party was sentenced to jail after years of legal battles. One user posts a doctored image of Dragnea’s long-time adversary National Anticorruption Directorate ex-boss Laura Kovesi peering through the tinted window of the car taking the former head of the ruling party to jail. Last year, Kovesi was forced out of office by Dragnea’s party. Ever since, the Social Democrats have attempted to block her attempts to become the European Union’s chief prosecutor. Another animation depicts Dragnea and his political supporters in the same car waving goodbye to the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, against whom he’s built his anti-EU rhetoric. The car sinks into a puddle shortly afterwards. “It’s a match”, reads another social media post mimicking the Tinder dating app message, but this time between Liviu Dragnea and a prison cell. The former mayor of the port city of Constanta, also in prison after recently being extradited from Madagascar, is co-opted into some posts. An image shows both Liviu Dragnea and Radu Mazare in bunk beds with the caption reading “Parallel state”. The term was often used by Dragnea to describe those contesting him, anti-corruption institutions, intelligence services and Romanian president Klaus Iohannis. Some user writes: “peak stupidity – to get people of jail in order make room for yourself”. The post refers to the ruling party’s push to pass changes to penal codes thus allowing some convicted individuals to go free. Dragnea’s supporters also made themselves heard following the decision. “It doesn’t matter what Liviu Dragnea lost, it matters what he won. He wrote his name in our hearts forever,” wrote one. Violeta Radut, an SPD politician added a montage of her party leader’s influence.

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