Romania's government under pressure as protests force cancellation of controversial decree

09 February, 2017, 00:13 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Romania continues to protest

It triggered more than a week of huge mass protests that culminated with some 600,000 people taking to the streets on February 5 in dozens of cities across Romania - some 300,000 of them in Bucharest alone - despite the government hastily repealing the decree.

However, while President Iohannis admonished the government he also said the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) had won the right to govern in a December election and should continue to do so - a message that may take the sting out of the protests.

The government "has been saying publicly I can't stomach the result of the vote. that I'd overturn a legitimate government", Iohannis said.

Some 2000 people are estimated to have taken part.

The decree has been scrapped, but protesters say the government has proved itself untrustworthy.

Although the prime minister held his ground for several days, the largest protest movement in Romania since the Ceaucescu regime was bloodily removed in 1989 seems to have convinced him to recall the decree five days before it was set to come into effect.

Speaking to a Romanian television broadcaster last week Dragnea called attention to the fact that the protests were "professionally organized".

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Every night for the past week people across Romania have protested against an emergency order on corruption issued by the Social Democrat-led government that was regarded as self-serving. Early elections, at this point, is too much. Thousands of people gathered outside the government offices for the seventh consecutive evening, yelling "Resignation!" and waving Romanian flags.

Grindeanu is seeking to gain the upper hand after hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded cities across the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member nation in the biggest display of defiance since the 1989 uprising that ousted dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. They said in the text of the no-confidence motion that Romania would not tolerate "corrupt politicians to be pardoned and shielded from justice".

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu rejected the accusation. "This is not a spontaneous meeting, I mean, there is not only spontaneity", Dragnea said, as quoted by Romanian new agency Agerpres.

Following the abolishment of the decree Juncker softened his rhetoric and suggested that the Romanian government has managed "to pull itself together", Vladimir Dobrovolsky of RIA Novosti pointed out Monday.

At this point, members of the governing coalition - made up of the Social Democrats and a smaller party, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, walked out of the room.

"We will develop and publish a draft bill which will be submitted to parliament after public consultation", he said.

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