Romanian minister resigns as scandal around emergency ordinance grows

By bne IntelliNews February 2, 2017

Romanian Minister for Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship Florin Jianu announced on February 2 he will resign from the government, choosing “to leave a story which is not his with his head held high”.

This is the first resignation from the government led by Sorin Grindeanu, and comes only 28 days after the government was endorsed. The move follows the adoption of a controversial emergency ordinance partly decriminalising abuse of office that sparked protests across the country.

"I am thinking about the future of my country, our country, of us all, a future we have to write with honour and honesty, not deception and lies. Romania does not deserve what is happening now, the Romanians does not deserve what is happening now," Jianu wrote on Facebook.

He added that he does not want his decision to be used for political or propagandistic purposes.

"I have thought with responsibility of what is ethical to do next and not mainly for my professional probity, because I have a clean conscience in this respect, but for my child, for the way I will look him in his eyes and what I am going to tell him in future years. Will I tell him that his father was a coward and vouched for actions he does not believe in or that he chose to leave a story which is not his with his head held high," the minister wrote.

Jianu said he prepared the message the evening the ordinance was adopted, but postponed the decision with the hope that “those who were wrong” would have the honour to fix "the error". "If they didn't do it for two days, maybe this example will be useful," Jianu concluded.

The changes to the Criminal Code will stop a series of investigations into Romanian politicians, including the leader of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea, and some former ministers, and will cancel out the efforts made in recent years by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). 

This has outraged many people within Romania, who had staunchly backed the anti-corruption fight. 

Up to 150,000 people turned out to protest in Bucharest alone on the evening of February 1, the day after the ordinance was adopted. This was the largest protest organised in Bucharest since the fall of communism. Rallies were organised in other cities too.

The ordinance has been harshly criticised by the general prosecutor, the National Anticorruption Directorate, the president and Superior Council of Magistrates. 

The EC has also expressed concern, while Romania’s major partner countries including the US, France and Germany issued a joint statement on the same topic expressing concerns with government actions that could “risk damaging partnerships that are based on common values, inherent in the guiding principles of the EU and NATO”.

 

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