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Emergency decree amending the Penal Code – UPDATE

Amid the street protests against the emergency decree (GEO) which decriminalizes abuse of office if the financial damage is less than RON 200,000, last Sunday the Gov’t eventually repealed it. In a political statement made the previous day, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu explained the decision by saying that “we don’t want to divide Romania”.

In addition, PM Grindeanu said that in order to reconcile the Constitutional Court’s decision on defining abuse of office the Gov’t will start consultations with the opposition parties, after which the cabinet will draft a new bill and submit it to the Parliament. Justice Minister Florin Iordache announced on Monday that his ministry will launch a public consultation on the bill. He stressed that the draft bill, which includes all the amendments required to put the Penal Code in agreement with the decisions of the Constitutional Court, will be open for public debate for 30 days, the legally required term. A few hours after the minister’s announcement, Ministry of Justice (MJ) released a press release in which announced that “the Justice Ministry gives up the draft law on modifying and adding the normative acts concerning the Criminal Codes, already forwarded to the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM), as it wants "to draft a more complex one”.

However, the political and social situation remains very tense. Over 600,000 people took to the streets last Sunday asking Mr Grindeanu to resign together with his cabinet. People are voicing their mistrust in the current cabinet; the repeal of the emergency ordinance is not enough to return to the rule of law. On the other hand, the voters and supporters of PSD (almost 2,000, mainly pensioners) organized last Sunday a counter-protest against President Klaus Iohannis, saying that the thousands of people protesting against the GEO were manipulated and paid to protest…

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