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Romanian PM who called rivals ‘autistic’ cleared of bias

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, left, stands next to Romania's President Klaus Iohannis after the swearing in of her cabinet, in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press)
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, left, stands next to Romania's President Klaus Iohannis after the swearing in of her cabinet, in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. (Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press)
Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania – A government council cleared Romania’s prime minister Monday of wrongdoing for using the word “autistic” to describe political rivals.

The National Council to Fight Discrimination, a government agency, agreed in an 8-1 vote that Prime Minister Viorica Dancila expressed herself “within the limits of freedom of expression which doesn’t constitute discrimination.”

Dancila, who was a European Union lawmaker before being sworn in as prime minister in January, attacked former European Parliament colleagues in a television interview this month for speaking out against Romania.

“These people misinform. They know the reality, but they don’t want to accept it,” she said in the interview. “I believe these people are autistic and don’t see and don’t hear what is obvious for those of good faith.”

Dancila apologized for her remark the next day and met people with autism.

Europe Autism Association chairwoman Ana Dragu said she was disappointed with the council’s verdict, and would consult with other members to decide whether to contest it.

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