Romanian president appoints ally as new spy chief, after ex-chief resigned over security laws

Romania's president has named a political ally as head of the country's intelligence service.

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday named Eduard Hellvig, a European Parliament lawmaker, to the position after the previous chief resigned criticizing the country's top court for rejecting security laws that allowed the government to collect data on people without court approval.

Parliament needs to approve his nomination.

The Constitutional Court in January rejected laws that would have allowed authorities to retain data and other personal details on people without persuading a court that the person represented a security risk. The court said the laws were unconstitutional and violated human rights.

George Maior, who ran the agency since 2006, stepped down after he criticized the court. He said the laws were necessary for national security.