Pundits forecast a hot autumn in Bucharest and are already deeming Sunday’s rally and march the triggers of the second large wave of anti-governmental protests, after the first one at the start of the year. Back then, the attempt of the PSD-ALDE government to amend the Criminal Codes, by an emergency decree, prompted hundreds of thousands of protesters to take to the streets in the largest rally of post-communist Romania. They were accusing the Power of trying to exonerate from criminal liability influential people in politics and administration, who were accused of corruption. Now, the protesters say they fear a new attempt is being made to politically subordinate justice in Romania, by transferring the Judicial Inspection Corps from under the umbrella of the Higher Council of the Magistracy into the subordination of the line ministry and by excluding President Klaus Iohannis from the procedures of appointing head prosecutors. The former Social Democratic justice minister Florin Iordache, who stepped down following last winter’s protests, in his new capacity as vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies, says the new protests and the protesters’ fears are groundless. Florin Iordache:
“As far as I am concerned, I can say we have already transposed into law the requests made in the street. So, we are either speaking about disinformation or the protesters do not know the text of the laws, relative to the two problems they evoke, that of appointing and sacking prosecutors, as we have provided in the text that the president should be the last person to sign the document. Relative to the Judicial Inspection Corps, we have decided that it should be an independent institution. And I repeat, if we protest, let’s also first take a look at the laws”.
The right-wing opposition has made public its support for the participation of its members and supporters in the protests organised by civil society. Although having a slightly marred image because of the corruption files of some of its prominent members, the National Liberal Party expresses its solidarity with the street protests for the independence of the judiciary and the continuation of the fight against corruption. Liberal leader Ludovic Orban:
“Of course, we have urged the supporters and members of the party to take part in these forms of protest, because the stand taken by the National Liberal Party is similar to that taken by the Romanian citizens who took part in the rallies. We also believe that public manifestations, marches, rallies and protests are necessary, because it is very difficult to block the adoption of the toxic measures initiated by the ruling party, at parliamentary level alone, taking into account the structure of the legislature.”
In another move, the President of the EU Court of Justice, Koen Lenaerts, said in Bucharest on Monday that the offence of “abuse of office” should not be related to the magnitude of the prejudice it has brought. Thus, he denied the statement by MP Iordache, who had earlier said that a moderate threshold of 19,000 lei, that is less than 5,000 Euros, would not affect anyone.(Translated by D. Vijeu)