Romanian government repeals corruption law after mass protests

Update 5pm:

Romania's government has repealed an emergency decree that decriminalises some official misconduct following days of mass protests and condemnation from abroad.

The government led by Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu originally approved the plan on Wednesday, with no input from Parliament.

After repealing the decree on Sunday, Grindeanu asked the justice minister to prepare a draft law to be sent to Parliament for debate and approval.

The centre-left Social Democratic Party has a parliamentary majority with a junior partner. President Klaus Iohannis then needs to sign off on the legislation.

The country's Constitutional Court is still scheduled to rule on the legality of the original decree. It decriminalised official misconduct if the funds involved were worth less than 200,000 lei (£38,000), which critics said would just encourage officials to steal on the job up to that point.

Grindeanu said the draft should respect the court's rulings, European directives and Romania's criminal code.

Earlier:

Romania's government is to hold an emergency meeting to repeal an emergency decree which decriminalizes official misconduct, following days of mass protests and widespread condemnation from abroad.

In an abrupt about-face, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said he would bring in the measure at the meeting on Sunday because he did not want to "divide Romania ... Romania in this moment seems broken in two".

Protesters were angry that the measure waters down the country's fight against corrupt officials, including the ruling Social Democrats' party leader.

Tens of thousands took to the streets for the fifth consecutive day on Saturday and another huge rally is planned for Sunday, the biggest protests in Romania since the end of communism in 1989.

It is not clear what effects the repeal would have on the decree passed on Wednesday. The Constitutional Court will rule on the legality of the decree this week.

AP

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