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Romania: Anti-corruption protest continues to draw thousands01:48

Romania: Anti-corruption protest continues to draw thousands

Romania, Bucharest
February 19, 2017 at 22:44 GMT -00:00 · Published

Thousands of protesters defied harsh weather conditions and demonstrated in Victory Square, Bucharest, for the twentieth night in a row Sunday, demanding that the Cabinet steps down following the withdrawal of a controversial decree that would have decriminalised some cases of official corruption.

Scores of protesters took to the streets to demand that the current Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu steps down, chanting "resignation" and "we'll be back every day."

On January 31, Justice Secretary Florin Lordache announced the passing of Emergency Decree 13, that partially decriminalises corruption-related offenses, including abuse of power in public office involving sums of money less than 200,000 lei (€44,475 / $48,000).

The move would have given a clean slate to many politicians in Romania, some of who are part of the ruling coalition, notably to Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who is now on trial and faces prison time for abuse of power in office.

Under pressure from demonstrators, Decree 13 was repealed by Decree 14 less than a week later, while another week later Justice Secretary Florin Lordache was the only member of cabinet to submit his resignation as a consequence of the protests.

On Tuesday, Romanian MPs are expected to formally strike down Decree 13, thus making sure that there is no possibility that this piece of legislation ever coming into effect.

Romania has had 1,170 cases of abuse in office over the last three years, amounting to close to a billion euros worth of damage, according to anti-corruption chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Romania: Anti-corruption protest continues to draw thousands01:48
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Description

Thousands of protesters defied harsh weather conditions and demonstrated in Victory Square, Bucharest, for the twentieth night in a row Sunday, demanding that the Cabinet steps down following the withdrawal of a controversial decree that would have decriminalised some cases of official corruption.

Scores of protesters took to the streets to demand that the current Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu steps down, chanting "resignation" and "we'll be back every day."

On January 31, Justice Secretary Florin Lordache announced the passing of Emergency Decree 13, that partially decriminalises corruption-related offenses, including abuse of power in public office involving sums of money less than 200,000 lei (€44,475 / $48,000).

The move would have given a clean slate to many politicians in Romania, some of who are part of the ruling coalition, notably to Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who is now on trial and faces prison time for abuse of power in office.

Under pressure from demonstrators, Decree 13 was repealed by Decree 14 less than a week later, while another week later Justice Secretary Florin Lordache was the only member of cabinet to submit his resignation as a consequence of the protests.

On Tuesday, Romanian MPs are expected to formally strike down Decree 13, thus making sure that there is no possibility that this piece of legislation ever coming into effect.

Romania has had 1,170 cases of abuse in office over the last three years, amounting to close to a billion euros worth of damage, according to anti-corruption chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

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