President Klaus Iohannis addressed Parliament for the first time since the Grindeanu government was sworn in.
Images featuring hundreds of thousands of Romanians getting together to protest against the Government decree amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code have been given extensive coverage by international media, taking Romania in prime time news. Meanwhile, the Sorin Grindeanu cabinet took a step back, by withdrawing the decree that generated a strong civic response among the Romanians living within the borders of the country and abroad.
The Government then drew up a bill amending the Codes, to align them to some rulings and requests by the Constitutional Court. In the end, the government withdrew this bill, too. Considering that the changes to the criminal law initiated by the Grindeanu government should be brought into the focus of public attention from the Romanian Parliament too, President Klaus Iohannis last week sent a letter to the Speakers of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament, expressing his intention to address senators and deputies.
From the very beginning, the President disproved the changes brought to the criminal law by issuing emergency decrees and, in recent times, he has repeatedly expressed his discontent and disapproval, even choosing to briefly show himself in public attending street protests. He has also announced his decision to start all necessary procedures to hold a referendum, for the Romanian citizens to express their will with respect to continuing the fight against corruption and the integrity of public office. Klaus Iohannis has also said that his mission is to restore the rule of law and that he will do anything for Romania to be a corruption-free country- some ideas that he reiterated in the plenary session of Parliament.
“The nation is on high alert, it is alive, it is watchful and very discontented. A significant sociological research conducted in the past three days shows that 80% of the Romanians say their country is going in the wrong direction. How do we end up here, less than a month since the elections? On December 11, the Social Democratic Party won a landslide victory in the elections, and then, embracing a strange, kamikaze-like strategy, it got into a head-on collision with a significant part of society”, the president has also said.
Urgent solutions are needed to get out of this deadlock, and these solutions should come from those who caused the problem, that is the main ruling party, the Social-Democrats, Klaus Iohannis went on to say. In his opinion, repealing the decree and a possible resignation or sacking of the line minister is not enough, and holding early elections is too much. The president has called on the Government to govern the country in a transparent, predictable and responsible way, and on Parliament, dominated by Social-Democrats, to issue laws benefiting the population and not just a group of politicians, facing judicial problems. (Translated by D. Vijeu)