Controversial graft decree revoked, justice minister faces dismissal, as a result of mass protests
Romanian prime minister has said he considers sacking the country’s justice minister over his support for the government’s controversial corruption decree, one that has triggered biggest street protests in Romania since the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s communist rule in 1989.
The decree decriminalizing ‘petty’ corruption approved by the cabinet of ministers last week “seems to have broken Romania in two”, PM Sorin Grindeanu said, which is why justice minister Florin Iordache may have to leave his post within the next few days.
The government revoked the decree on Sunday, however dozens of thousands of Romanians continued to protest in Bucharest on Monday, demanding that the government resign.
The decree sought to exempt graft offences involving sums of less than 47,800 USD from prosecution. PM Grindeanu (who is a member of the Social Democrats party) argued the move would help ease the problem of overcrowding in the country’s prisons. However, critics said it would allow corrupted politicians to get away with their crimes and prompt new instances of power abuse.
Over half a million people took to the streets to protest against the decree. There were several cases of protesters clashing with the police.
Romania has been ranked 57th out of the 176 countries in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index, which makes it one of the worst performers in EU.