Romania's government holds on and calls for an end to protests
- Author: Terrell Bush Feb 09, 2017,
Feb 09, 2017, 0:13
But authorities are sending mixed signals on whether the changes will be passed, with the Justice Ministry saying the bill was withdrawn to prepare a "more complex" one.
President Klaus Iohannis said it is time for Romania to decide whether it wants to be a "strong prosperous" nation or a "weak despised one" - and he called for a referendum so the people can have their say.
The opposition parties filed a no-confidence motion against the Government after the cabinet made a decision to adopt an emergency ordinance amending the Penal Code, on Tuesday, January 31.
Nonetheless, what will predictably keep the people on the streets, or bring them back if necessary, is what prompted the protests in first place - namely not the details, but the ruling party's insistence on enacting the ordinance despite criticism.
"The Chairs of the two Chambers try to accredit in the public realm the idea that I do digest the outcome of the vote and that I would try to do something to overturn this result, they claim publicly that I would like to overthrow the legitimate Government. No".
The move which bypassed Parliament and was not signed off by Iohannis, who has limited powers ignited the biggest protests seen since communism ended in the country in 1989. The protestors wish to send a message to the government to refrain from retreating against the country's fight against corruption. Yet on the other hand, early elections, are too much in this stage.
Protesters in Romania have been demonstrating for almost week - at one point amassing up to 500,000 people - and are now calling for the resignation of Prime minister Sorin Grindeanu.
"Every action the government took in the last week proves that they are not honest at all". "That's false. You won, now you govern and legislate, but not at any price". The legislation decriminalized corruption for public officials if the amount in question was less than about $48,500, Katz and Mutler report. "Romania needs a government that governs transparently, predictibly, not at night in secret".
Last night, there were more than 300,000 protesters in the capital city. As Gregory Katz notes for the Associated Press, one of the main beneficiaries of the decree arguably would have been the party leader himself, whose path to becoming prime minister has been blocked because of corruption charges.
"His Government will remain known in history as the "zero" Government", the Prime Minister said, referring to the previous cabinet of technocrats led by Dacian Ciolos.
We fought, gave laws and ruled for many years to pave Romania's way to becoming a strong part of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, of the EU.
"A lot of the people on the streets are too young to remember that", Thorpe says, "but they're aware of a protesting tradition in Romania, starting with the revolution".
Romania's ruling three party coalition abstained.