The New York Times covers the recent developments in Romania, where this week, the parliament passed a bill that partially decriminalizes abuse of office offenses and reduces the penalties for officials convicted of abusing their office. The bill sped through a parliamentary committee and both houses of parliament in just three days.
The passage of the legislation is setting up a new showdown in the ongoing political struggle between Romania’s ruling Social Democrats (PSD) and President Klaus Iohannis. Iohannis called the bill “profoundly damaging to democracy,” but he is under pressure to sign it because of the Romanian Constitutional Court siding against him and with the PSD in a separate case. Following the passage of the bill, thousands of Romanians again took to the streets in Bucharest and other cities.
Last year, a similar rule that legalized low-level corruption was passed as an emergency ordinance. That prompted mass protests, though, and the ordinance was repealed.