Protesters in Piata Victoriei square, in the Romanian capital Bucharest, chanted "Thieves, thieves" and "Resignation, Resignation."
Protesters in Piata Victoriei square, in the Romanian capital Bucharest, chanted "Thieves, thieves" and "Resignation, Resignation."

Romania's justice ministry has officially scrapped a decree that would have decriminalised some graft offences amid ongoing protests.

"The ministry is not seeking to draft a bill to change and amend law No. 286/2009 regarding the criminal code and the law No. 135/2010 regarding the criminal procedure code," the ministry said in a statement, according to Romania's Digi24 TV.

The decree to decriminalise graft had triggered the biggest mass protests in the country since 1989, when Nicolae Ceausescu's Communist regime was ousted in a bloody revolution.

On Monday, the leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, said Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu's government had the full support of the party.

"The government has no reason to resign, it was legitimately elected," Dragnea said after a party meeting.

The cabinet on Sunday scrapped the measure and promised the details of a new bill later on Monday.

TRT World's Nafisa Latic has this report on developments over the weekend.

"At this moment, I no longer trust my government"

Romania's government is still under pressure despite revoking the decree that would decriminalise abuse-of-power offences which involved less than $48,000.

Several officials from the ruling party, who are among those accused of corruption, would have been shielded if the decree passed.

It would also potentially put a halt to the ongoing trial of the head of the ruling Social Democrats (PSD) Liviu Dragnea, who is accused of using his political influence to secure state salaries for two people working at his party headquarters between 2006 and 2013. He denies wrongdoing.

"At this moment, I no longer trust my government. They would not vote for them to go to prison themselves," said a protestor.

Critics say that the decree is the biggest retreat on reforms since Romania joined the European Union in 2007.

Nine Western powers, including Germany and the United States, said they were concerned that the decree could undermine Romania's relationships with its EU and NATO colleagues.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies