Anti-government protests continue in Romania over controversial bill

People continued to flock to the streets of Bucharest and other cities across Romania on Sunday night to protest a newly-unveiled piece of legislation.

The bill would decriminalize the abuse of power costing under $47,000 USD, pardon convicts serving less than five-year sentences for certain crimes, as well as cutting sentences for all convicts over 60, with a terminal illness, or a dependent child in half.

The bill has been strongly criticized by the Romanian President, the anti-corruption prosecutor and the prosecutor-general. They say Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu’s attempts to force through the legislation by emergency decrees in the place of parliamentary debate lacks transparency, and undermines the rule of law.

Government party president Liviu Dragnea is also under investigation for abuse of power, and would be affected by the passing of the decree.

The government has defended its stance, saying the bill would reduce the overloaded Romanian prison system, as well as modernize Romania’s criminal code.

Grindeanu was elected in December of 2016 in a parliamentary election.

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