President Trump isn’t the only leader who’s had a rocky start in government. The Romanian Prime Minister, Sorin Grindeanu, has only been in place since 4 January 2017 and he’s already seen hundreds of thousands of protesters fill the streets in the largest mass demonstrations since the fall of Communism in 1989.
Prime Minister Grindeanu’s Social Democratic Party came first in parliamentary elections in 2016, taking 45% of the vote and managing to cobble together a coalition with the liberal ALDE party, who received roughly 5%. Turnout was fairly low in the election, at just 39%.
However, days after the government was sworn into office, protests began over legislation proposed by the Ministry of Justice that would have made abuse of power only criminally punishable if the sums involved exceeded 200,000 lei (€44,200).
Critics argue that this amounted to the decriminalisation of government corruption. They see it as a cynical attempt to protect hundreds of Romanian politicians facing criminal investigations and jail. However, supporters of the controversial decree argued that the judiciary in Romania is too political, and has been working with the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to unfairly target the government.
Under intense pressure from the protesters, the government has agreed to back down and withdraw the proposed decree. It’s unclear what the next step will be, as many demonstrators are now demanding the government resign. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis (who comes from the opposition National Liberal Party), has called for a referendum on anti-corruption measures – but the question of the referendum has not yet been revealed.
Should the Romanian government resign? Has the government lost the trust of the people? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!