Crisis in Romania: Call for immediate oversight from Europe and possible new elections after Gov't weakens anti-corruption laws
Romania is in crisis.
Right now, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) - at the request of the vigilant President Klaus Iohannis - is beginning the process of reviewing the emergency decrees, employed by the PSD-led Government to weaken existing anti-corruption legislation.
The PSD seems to have used extraordinary, emergency powers to decriminalise some forms of corruption - for what appears to be blatantly political ends.
However, the Romanian people - in their wisdom - smelled a rat. And, as a result, massive, country-wide protests, against the Government decrees, have risen up.
From the size of the huge protests, seen in the streets of Bucharest and in 55 cities and towns throughout Romania, and which have attracted hundreds of thousands of peaceful demonstrators, it is clear that public opinion is squarely against the actions of the Government.
In fact, several high-ranking Government officials have already resigned because of public pressure, including the Minister for the Business Environment, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and the State Secretary in the Ministry for European Funds. More resignations may follow in the coming days.
And, there have even been calls for new elections to be held - so strong are the feelings against these hastily-contrived and overtly-political decrees.
One reason the people of Romania have reacted so forcefully against these decrees is that they would effectively pardon corruption offenses of many PSD members, including the leader of the party, Liviu Dragnea, who is now serving a suspended two-year sentence for the part he played in helping to rig a recent referendum.
Extraordinarily, even amidst mass protests, court challenges, and ministerial resignations, the current Prime Minister of Romania, Sorin Grindeanu, is stubbornly sticking to his guns and refusing to yield to the public outcry, demanding that the Government rescind the harmful decrees.
If the Government is permitted to continue on this anti-democratic course, a kind of dictatorship could take root; and, if the public protests swell out-of-control, mob rule could take root. Neither of these outcomes is desirable.
But, unfortunately, the process of judicial review, now launched by the CCR, can take several weeks to effect.
And, right now, immediate action is required so as to stabilize the fragile state of democracy in Romania.
Therefore, this petition calls on the following bodies of the EU and the Council of Europe - all of which are designed to protect and foster the rule of law within Europe - to intervene in Romania, with immediate effect:
- The EU Commissioner for Justice
- The EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
- The EU's Committee of the Regions
- The Council of Europe's European Commission for Democracy through Law
Specifically, this petition calls on the political apparatus of the EU and the Council of Europe to monitor and develop a political strategy to safeguard Romanian democracy.
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Call for immediate EU oversight and possible new elections in Romania after Gov't weakens anti-corruption laws