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Iran Press TV

Romania's controversial corruption decree repealed amid protests

Iran Press TV

Sun Feb 5, 2017 3:16PM

Romania's government has officially repealed a decree decriminalizing minor official corruption offenses following five days of mass protests in the country.

"The decree was scrapped," a government official said on Sunday, adding that officials will comment on the issue soon.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu had announced on Saturday that he would repeal his controversial decree, which many inside and outside Romania said would shield dozens of politicians from prosecution for corruption.

"We'll hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to repeal the decree, withdraw, cancel it … you understand, and find a legal way to make sure it does not take effect," he said on Saturday, adding that he did not want to further divide the country, which he said was "broken in two."

Grindeanu issued the emergency decree on Tuesday, sparking unprecedented demonstrations across the country for the following five days.

Under the plan, the government intended to decriminalize official misconduct that involved financial damage valued at less than 47,800 US dollars. According to the government, the plan would lead to the release of 2,500 prisoners, but prison authorities said at least 3,700 prisoners could be freed as a result of the amnesty given to the inmates.

Many had feared that the decision would help the ruling Social Democrats to ease pressure on many key party figures, who either face prosecution over corruption charges or are also behind bars convicted of fraud and embezzlement.

The opposition had also criticized Grindeanu for approving the ordinance in the middle of the night with no input from the parliament. Romania's Constitutional Court was to rule on the legality of the decree.

Report on Sunday said Grindeanu had asked Romania's Justice Minister Florin Iordache to prepare a draft law and send it to the parliament for debate. That came while tens of thousands were still protesting against the decree.

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