Protests in Romania Grow based on Leftist Government Seeking to Free Corrupt Officials
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu of Romania is under pressure because vast numbers of Romanians believe that the leftist government is favoring corrupt officials over the masses. Grindeanu, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), supported a decree that would enable corrupt officials to be freed from prison based on certain limitations. Therefore, enormous anti-government protestors demonstrated outside government buildings in the capital of Romania.
It was reported that approximately 150,000 anti-government protestors were demonstrating with enormous vigor in Bucharest prior to violence breaking out. After all, the feeling in certain sectors of society is that the leftist-led government is more interested in looking after corrupt officials rather than focusing on the rule of law.
Brazenly, the government of Grindeanu is claiming that the political decree of freeing corrupt officials is related to overcrowding in prison. In other words, the ruse being used by the government isn’t fooling concerned citizens, who are disillusioned by political elites and their respective vested interests.
The BBC reports, “One immediate beneficiary would be the PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea, who faces charges of defrauding the state… Others due for release include elected officials and magistrates.”
It is known that demonstrations are also taking place in many parts of Romania. Hence, while Bucharest will hog the limelight, it is abundantly clear that discontent is far and wide.
The embassies of America, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, issued a political joint statement against the new political decree that would absolve some corrupt officials. This will further lead to political tensions because the government will deem this to be outside interference. Despite this, the embassies stated in a joint statement that the measure passed “undermined Romania’s progress on rule of law and the fight against corruption over the past 10 years.”
Reuters reports, “Romania’s Social Democrats won back power in a December 2016 election, one year after protesters drove them from office in an outpouring of anger over a deadly fire at a nightclub that many blamed on corruption and impunity.”
It appears that the political system in Romania will remain rocky unless the government reconsiders the political decree that led to mass protests. Therefore, the European Union will be watching events closely.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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