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Romanian PM announces withdrawal of corruption-related decree, uses ambiguous language as massive protests continue in Bucharest

de Editorial Staff Sâmbătă, 4 februarie 2017, 21:20
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Romanian PM Sorin Grindeanu announced on Saturday evening that his government would convene in emergency session on Sunday morning to "withdraw, postpone" a corruption-related emergency ordinance. He made the ambiguous statement as up to 150,000 people were protesting before the Government HQ in Bucharest against the ordinance, which is seen as favoring high level corruption.


Prior to Grindeanu's unclear statement, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who's party is a minor partner in the governing coalition, said the government decided to withdraw the ordinance.

But protesters say they would not believe anything until they seen it done. And opinion leaders from among protesters are pointing out on social networks that a postponement of a decision would be no good, as it would allow for even a short while the application of the ordinance, which would decriminalise certain corruption offences.

Grindeanu - who leads the government in place of Social Democratic leader Liviu Dragnea, who faces corruption charges, already has a suspended sentence for electoral fraud and is seen as a key beneficiary of the proposed legislative changes - accepted in his statement that the society was deeply divided and that his government would try to address it, but said that the content of the ordinance would be pushed through the longer process of parliament approval in the form of a draft law.

He said nothing about any government-level resignation, but said that the Justice ministry would take responsibility for the consequences of what has happened.

His statement comes after days of massive protests in Bucharest and other major cities, which are expected to reach a peak on Sunday evening, unless the government steps back officially.
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