Romania annuls emergency ordinance to end protests

Bucharest, Feb 5 (IANS) Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced that the government decided to repeal the emergency ordinance which critics and protesters said could help corrupt politicians escape justice.

The Romanian government on Saturday said it would revoke the emergency ordinance which changed Criminal Code in an emergency meeting on Sunday, Grindeanu said in a televised speech from the cabinet’s headquarters, Xinhua news agency reported.

Grindeanu made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the ruling Social Democrats, saying that he did not want the Romanian people to split into two opposing camps.

The emergency ordinance, which was passed on January 31, triggered huge protests in Romania over the past several days.

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched in the capital of Bucharest.

Earlier, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea said he would talk with other political parties of the ruling coalition and with the prime minister to propose a solution to this deadlock.

According to Dragnea, he felt that he could no longer control local organisations that can bring to the streets in Bucharest some one million people.

“We can not assist in crushing Romania,” he said.

The emergency ordinance has redefined, and partially decriminalised abuse of office offenses.

After the ordinance was adopted, Justice Minister Florin Iordache said that abuse of office was to be considered a crime only if the damages exceeded 200,000 lei ($47,500).

However, the opposition complained that the changes to the criminal law would likely prevent some politicians charged with crimes from being punished.