Bucharest (Romania), Feb 8: The massive protests and rallies by Romanian citizens against its government since last week have finally led to the rescission of an emergency executive order that decriminalised the abuse of its corrupt officials.
This order would have paved the way for several corrupt officials into the country’s governance. However, strong opposition to the order by its citizens, congregating in huge numbers, led to the repealing of the devastating order.
Citizens of Romania took to streets on January 31 when the order was decreed by the government. Since then, the Eastern European country has been experiencing protests and demonstrations on the massive scale for the first time since 1989, when it overthrew a 42-year-old Communist rule.
Late on Wednesday, a crowd of at least 150,000 was reported outside government offices on Victory Square in Bucharest, the country’s capital. With pressure mounting on the ruling coalition from its citizens as well as the European Union, it announced its decision to rescind the order late on Sunday.
The official website of Romanian government states that the ordinance to abrogate the Government Emergency Ordinance has been approved. It will also declassify the minutes of discussion of Government meetings on January 31.
The coalition government, led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu of the left-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD), had passed a decree on January 31 to decriminalise abuse in office by officials, if the sums involved were less than $48,500.
Ordered without any input from parliament, the decree would have stopped all investigations for pending corruption offences freed officials imprisoned for corruption, and blocked further investigations related to those offences.
The decree attracted heavy criticism from the international community. The EU commission President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans issued a statement expressing concern over the latest development in the country.
“The Commission is following the developments in Romania with great concern, and also warns its authorities against backtracking. We will look thoroughly at the emergency ordinance on the Criminal Code and the Law on Pardons in this light,” the EU commission press release read.
While the executive order has been rescinded, protests and rallies have still not subdued in Bucharest. According to the Guardian, the government is still planning to release 2500 prisoners serving less than five-year sentences through a different ruling.
Also, the rescission of the aforementioned decree stands a chance of being refuted as the PSD and its alliances enjoy a majority in the house, and are likely to carry on with the order in its original state.