Liviu Dragnea, of the Social Democratic party, expected to appeal after being handed three-and-a-half-year sentence

The powerful leader of Romania’s ruling party has been sentenced to prison in a blow to a government that has showered praise on Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric, and threatened to create the EU’s latest populist headache.

Liviu Dragnea, head of the Social Democratic party (PSD) and regarded as the most powerful man in the country, was convicted of abuse of power and handed a three-and-a-half-year sentence in an initial verdict after a corruption trial. Dragnea is expected to appeal.

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