Romania's embattled Social Democrats hold congress

Romania's ruling Social Democracy party has begun a congress amid criticism of the government and the party chairman's leadership.

Some 4,000 party members will elect 16 deputy presidents and a deputy leader at Saturday's meeting.

Chairman Liviu Dragnea initially planned to seek a vote of support at the congress, but withdrew that option as some party members claimed he arbitrarily changed party rules.

Dragnea can't be prime minister due to a 2016 conviction for vote rigging. Prosecutors launched a separate probe, charging him with embezzling European Union funds. He denies wrongdoing.

The left-wing party retains its traditional support, but has been criticized after appointing three prime ministers in one year, and also for a tax overhaul which saw social security taxes shifted from the employer to the employee.