Romanian Justice Minister resigns from government

Romanians have been protesting the government's attempt to roll back anti-corruption laws

People rallied near the government building in Bucharest, for the 10th day in a row, hours after the minister of justice, Florin Iordache, resigned, amid controversies regarding controversial amendments to the Criminal Code that he backed and that were later repealed.

The original decree would have decriminalised abuse of power offences where sums of less than €44,000 (£38,000; $47,500) were involved. "However, it was not enough for the public opinion, that is why I have made a decision to resign from the position of Minister of Justice", Florin Iordache said to the Government.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu's government easily survived a no-confidence motion on Wednesday thanks to its solid majority in parliament.

The demonstrations - attracting hundreds of thousands of people - have been the country's largest since the fall of communism in 1989.

Opponents regard it as a way of pardoning some members of the ruling Social Democrat Party in advance of trials.


But Mr Iordache, who had drawn up the bill, insisted that "all that I've done was legal". Those protests have continued, with many now calling for the entire left-wing government to quit.

Protesters said the measure diluted the anti-corruption fight that has targeted Romania's rich and powerful.

The bill was promoted by the government as a means of ending prison overcrowding and to align some laws with the country's Constitution.

But critics saw it as a way for the PSD to absolve officials convicted or accused of corruption.

The "danger is not ruled out" because such attempts to change laws are likely to happen again, said Laura Codruta Kovesi, chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. Demonstrators in Bucharest began massing daily, beginning on Wednesday.

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