Romania's justice minister quits as protests continue over graft law

Demonstrators demand Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and his cabinet step down after they attempted to pass a controversial decree to decriminalise corruption offences involving less than $48,000.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The massive protests began after an emergency decree, aimed to decriminalise corruption, was approved on January 31, 2017.

Romania’s justice minister resigned following mass protests over a law that would weaken the fight against corruption.

"I've submitted my resignation. I say that all that I've done was legal," justice minister Florin Lordache told reporters on Thursday. 

Romanians mobilised in large numbers after an emergency decree — aimed to decriminalise corruption offences involving less than $48,000 — was approved on January 31, 2017. The controversial legislation was repealed on Sunday, but tensions remain high as the protesters demand the resignation of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and his cabinet. 

Instead, Grindeanu said on Monday that he might fire the justice minister for mishandling the controversial law which sparked the largest anti-government protests since communism ended.

Grindeanu refuses to step down despite the demonstrations. Only the parliament can force Grindeanu to do so, but it is unlikely as he has the support of a definite majority.

Political unrest continues  

More protests are expected on Thursday, a day after the centre-left government survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence.   

Protesters are expected to keep the momentum going for the weekend and hold big rallies like the one held on Sunday which attracted 500,000 to 600,000 people in the capital Bucharest's Victory Square.

Laurentiu Colintineanu joins TRT World to bring the latest on the Romanian political crisis. 


TRTWorld and agencies