‘People Power’ in Romania Halts Corruption Decree
BUCHAREST, Romania — A spontaneous display of “people power” in the capital Bucharest and cities throughout Romania has for the moment slowed a government push to decriminalize some forms of corruption committed by public officials. The confrontation has seen the largest protests since the 1989 revolution that ended the regime of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Here is a look at the situation and the issues:
The government sought to impose a measure by “emergency decree” that would have substantially reduced penalties for some types of corruption by public officials, including the misuse of public office for personal gain. The law seemed lax to protesters, in part because offenses would only be prosecuted if more than about $48,500 in local currency was involved.
The decree was designed to protect officials — from mayors in small villages all the way up to senior ministers in the national government — from an increasingly aggressive anti-corruption program that has led to numerous prosecutions, including some with prison sentences.