- Associated Press - Monday, November 19, 2018

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Romania’s defense minister and the Bucharest mayor have resigned their positions in the ruling Social Democratic Party ahead of a government reshuffle.

Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea aims to strengthen his hand in Monday’s reshuffle after coming under fire for his management style and corruption convictions.

Dragnea effectively runs the government but can’t be prime minister due to a conviction for vote-rigging. In June, he was also handed a 3½-year sentence for abuse of power in office, which he has appealed. Premier Viorica Dancila has little executive power.

Defense Minister Mihai Fifor quit Monday ahead of the party meeting.

Mayor Gabriela Firea, who has accused Dragnea of running the party in an underhand and arbitrary manner, resigned as acting leader of the party’s Bucharest branch following reports that the party was poised to remove her.

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