Romanian Justice Minister resigns over controversial corruption reforms

Romanians protest against the corruption decree on February 5 in Bucharest.

Story highlights

  • Florin Iordache resigns after days of protests over controversial decree
  • Emergency law, since withdrawn, would have essentially decriminalized some forms of corruption

Bucharest, Romania (CNN)Romanian Justice Minister Florin Iordache has resigned over a controversial government decree that would have protected many politicians from being prosecuted for corruption offences.

Iordache's resignation comes after 10 days of widespread protests against the corruption reforms rocked the nation. The government repealed the decree earlier this week.
In a televised statement on Thursday, Iordache said: "Ever since I came to the Justice Ministry, I planned and I also performed all legal procedures to correct a number of sensitive existing problems. As you've seen yourself, all my initiatives that I have assumed are legal and constitutional. The proposed projects have been out for public debate and now they are in parliamentarian debate.
"However, this wasn't enough for public opinion, so I have decided to resign from the post of Justice Minister."
Romania's Justice Minister Florin Iordache resigned on Thursday.
On Thursday, Romania's Constitutional Court rejected complaints filed against the controversial decree as the law had been already repealed.
Earlier this week Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu had asked Iordache to prepare a draft law similar to the controversial decree.
The decree would have decriminalized corruption that caused damage worth less than about $48,000 (200,000 lei).
It also would have halted all investigations for pending corruption offenses, prevented further cases related to these offenses to be brought into justice, and freed some officials imprisoned for corruption.
This could have benefited politicians such as Liviu Dragnea, president of the Social Democrat Party, which recently took power. Dragnea is under investigation over abuse of power allegations and had also previously received a two-year suspended sentence for an elections offense.
Demonstrations calling for the resignation of the entire Social Democrat-led government -- which introduced the measure -- are expected to continue this week.