Romanian PM to “press ahead” with corruption decrees as protests grow
Romania’s prime minister has refused to repeal decrees that critics say will free corrupt officials from jail early and shield others from conviction, despite international condemnation and the biggest popular protests since the fall of communism.
“We took a decision in the government and we are going to press ahead,” Sorin Grindeanu said after a meeting of his ruling leftwing Social Democrats (PSD). The party leader, Liviu Dragnea, blamed an “ongoing campaign of lies and disinformation” for opposition to the decrees.
“The PSD won elections [in December] with a huge vote. The government’s power is legitimate,” Dragnea said, labelling the centre-right president, Klaus Iohannis, the “moral author of last night’s violence”.
Iohannis has threatened to take the ordinance to the constitutional court, the last legal resort to stop the emergency decrees passing into law. He said on Thursday he was “impressed” by the protests, adding that Romanians had “clearly what they want: the rule of law”.
The European commission vice-president, Frans Timmermans, urged the government to “urgently reconsider”, saying that Romania’s EU funding could be at risk.
In a separate statement, the US, Germany, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands and France said the government had undermined “progress on rule of law and the fight against corruption over the past 10 years”.
Clashes broke out in Bucharest after hundreds of thousands demonstrated across Romania in a second night of protests. Bottles and firecrackers were hurled at police in the capital, who responded with teargas. Twenty people were arrested and eight injured, authorities said.
In the largest demonstrations since the fall of communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1989, up to 300,000 people braved subzero temperatures to participate in protests across 50 towns and cities, including 150,000 in the capital. There were shouts of “Thieves” and calls for politicians to be locked up.
“Romania’s prime minister has refused to repeal decrees that critics say will free corrupt officials from jail early and shield others from conviction, despite international condemnation and the biggest popular protests since the fall of communism.”
corruption should be allowed if its only minor..please..i would protest as well!