Romanian Justice Minister resigns after massive street protests


Romania’s Minister of Justice Florin Iordache has resigned his portfolio after massive street protests condemning changes to the criminal law (see previous story) have been staged for the past couple of weeks. The government backed down earlier this week and revoked the original decree (which would have decriminalised some corruption offences) and yesterday the prime minister survived a confidence motion in parliament.

Nevertheless, the political crisis comes a month into the formation of the new government after December’s general election. The government has been criticised by President Klaus Iohannis and the street protests continue, although the numbers have dwindled.

The decision for the Justice Minister to go was not a surprise and was the minimum the government can expect to get away with after the size of the condemnation into the law changes. The protesters want the whole Cabinet to resign and, without doubt, the crisis is likely to have a lasting effect on the effectiveness of the government for the rest of its term in office.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced today that he was proposing Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Ana Birchall as interim minister of Justice. It is possible that the government will seek to appoint a technocrat as the new minister in order to prevent any further political fallout over law changes.

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