Romania to revoke decree on corruption amid mass protests

Bucharest, Feb 5 (IANS) The Romanian government on Sunday will hold an extraordinary session to withdraw a controversial decree that decriminalised certain forms of corruption and sparked a wave of mass protests across the nation.

Despite the announcement of the repeal, another protest was expected to become the most important in the country’s democratic history, with more than 330,000 taking to the streets on Saturday night amid shouts of “thieves” and “traitors”, Efe news reported.

“We will hold an extraordinary session of the government to revoke the decree,” Social Democratic Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced.

Grindeanu said he did not want Romanian society to be divided and he would negotiate a new regulation with the opposition that would have the widest possible support.

On January 31, the government imposed as a matter of urgency a decree that decriminalised some corruption cases if they cost the government less than 44,000 euros ($47,500).

The decree was accompanied by a pardon for 2,700 prisoners convicted of minor crimes, also for corruption, which the government justified on grounds that it had to reduce the number of inmates in the vastly overcrowded Romanian prisons.

The controversial measure was met with outrage by members of the public, who took to the streets of the capital Bucharest.