February 3, 2016 - 17:21 AMT
Romanian lawmakers vote to lift former minister’s immunity

Romania's parliament has voted to lift the immunity of a former interior minister so he can be investigated on suspicion of abusing his position by allegedly overusing official motorcades, the Associated Press reports.

Senators voted 102-30 Wednesday to lift the immunity of Sen. Gabriel Oprea. Anti-corruption prosecutors say Oprea used a motorcade 1,607 times from Jan 2-Oct 21, 2015, an average of five times a day and three times more than Romania's president used the privilege. Oprea denies wrongdoing.

Many Romanians think senior officials abuse their positions by overusing motorcades, which often block traffic in the busy capital.

There was public outrage when a policeman escorting Oprea died when his motorbike hit a pothole. Oprea resigned on Nov 4 when the government collapsed following street protests over a deadly nightclub fire that killed 63.