BUCHAREST - Thousands of Romanians rallied in Bucharest and cities across the country on Sunday to protest against government plans to decriminalize some offenses and pardon some convicted prisoners through emergency decrees that critics say threaten to undermine a crackdown on high-level graft.
The new cabinet of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu last week unveiled the draft decrees that have been criticized by the president, the prosecutor general, the supreme court, the chief anti-corruption prosecutor and the chief of the directorate fighting organized crime, as well as civil rights groups and diplomats.All have expressed concern about the drafts, as well as a lack of transparency and the intention to legislate through decrees instead of going through parliament, despite having a strong majority there.
According to drafts, the government intends among other changes to decriminalize abuse of power actions causing financial damage of less than 200,000 lei ($47,500), an offense the leader of the ruling Social Democrat party is accused of inciting a third party to commit.
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