Romanian minister resigns amid anti-graft protests

Business Minister Florin Jianu's resignation follows mass protests against government's move to decriminalize some graft

Romanian minister resigns amid anti-graft protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Romanian business minister resigned Thursday amid nationwide protests against a recent government decision to decriminalize certain graft offenses.

Florin Jianu, minister for business environment, commerce and entrepreneurship, announced his resignation on Facebook, saying it was the "ethical" thing to do "not for my professional honesty. My conscience is clean in that regard, but for my child."

"How am I going to look at him in the eyes, and what am I going to tell him over the years?

"Am I going to tell him that his father was a coward and supported actions in which he did not believe, or that he chose to walk away from a story that didn't belong to him?" he wrote.

Jianu added that he never expected to be overshadowed by injustice and cruelty during his term, which he said Romania did not deserve.

The emergency decree adopted late Tuesday decriminalizes graft cases in which the damages are valued under 200,000 lei ($47,800).

The move, which came a month after the Social Democrat-led government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu came to power, triggered widespread protests across the country, which are considered to be the largest demonstrations since the fall of communism in 1989.

On Wednesday, eight protesters were wounded, and 20 others arrested during a clash with police in the capital, Bucharest.

In a letter sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, Prime Minister Grindeanu explained why his cabinet passed the controversial decree and a draft bill which includes prison pardons for several offenses.

The government is defending the decree on the grounds that it will ease overcrowding of prisons, and align criminal law with recent rulings of the Constitutional Court. 

The protesters, on the other hand, claim that the decree will harm Romania's fight against corruption.

President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday that he would take the emergency decree to court, in an effort to have it declared unconstitutional.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Şubat 2017, 18:38