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Romanian Justice Minister Quits Over Anti-Graft Decree Protests

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has vowed not to resign.
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has vowed not to resign.

Romania's justice minister has resigned following mass protests over an emergency decree that critics say would have weakened the country's anti-corruption fight.

Florin Iordache argued on February 9 that all his initiatives were "legal and constitutional" but said he had failed to placate "public opinion."

Romania's government withdrew the decree on February 5 after a dayslong protest by hundreds of thousands in cities across Romania.

Protesters said that the measure, crafted by Iordache to decriminalize some forms of official misconduct, would dilute the anti-corruption fight.

The leftist government on February 8 survived a vote of no confidence in parliament, where it has a solid majority, even as it continued to face nationwide protests.

Demonstrators, who at first had demanded that the government scrap the decree, are now calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu's government. Grindeanu has vowed not to quit.

Much of the public anger is directed at what critics say is the corruption-riddled political establishment. It is focused largely on powerful Social Democratic leader Liviu Dragnea, who opponents of the scrapped decree critics say would have been its main beneficiary.

Dragnea was barred from holding office because of a voter-fraud conviction and is currently on trial for alleged abuse of power, a charge he denies.

Based on reports by, Reuters, and AP