Romanian justice minister takes rap for protests over emergency decree

Romanian justice minister takes rap for protests over emergency decree
Justice Minister Florin Iordache.
By bne IntelliNews February 9, 2017

Romanian Justice Minister Florin Iordache resigned on February 9, taking responsibility for the massive outcry over the emergency decree that partly decriminalised abuse of office.

The decree, which was later revoked by the Social Democrat-led government, triggered mass protests in the country for nine consecutive days, including several of the biggest since the collapse of communism. 

Iordache's resignation was expected as Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu had indicated the justice minister might resign or be dismissed. The premier said the arguments supporting the ordinance had not been clearly communicated, and the justice ministry and minister will assume responsibility. According to News.ro, Grindeanu has said that a technocrat heading the justice ministry "is a good idea".

Iordache's resignation had also been demanded by some senior members of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), such as vice president Mihai Chirica, who had also asked for the ordinance to be revoked.

For some demonstrators Iordache's resignation will not be enough and they are asking for the resignation of the whole government. However, protests in the past few days have been much smaller than at the weekend.

President Klaus Iohannis, who has supported the demonstrators, also said while addressing the parliament on February 7 that "the withdrawal of the Ordinance 13 and maybe the dismissal of a minister is surely too little", but that "early elections are, in this phase, too much".

In its short annoucement, Iordache said his initiatives were "legal and constitutional", referring to a ruling of the Constitutional Court made a day before. The court ruled on February 8 that there was no legal conflict between institutions in the adoption of the controversial emergency decree.

"The proposed projects have been put up for public debate by the justice ministry and are now under parliamentary debate," Iordache said.  "However, it was not enough for public opinion, and as a result I have decided to resign from the justice minister post," he said, refusing to answer additional questions from  journalists.

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