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Romanian minister quits over government corruption stance

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Romanian minister quits over government corruption stance
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*NB: an updated version of Thursday’s events in Romania is available here.*

A Romanian minister has said he is resigning in protest at the social democratic government’s stance on corruption.

It comes after some of the biggest demonstrations since the 1989 revolution that brought down communism.

There’s widespread anger over an emergency decree decriminalising corruption offences below a certain amount.

Announcing his resignation, the Business Environment Minister Florin Jianu said on his Facebook page (in Romanian) that he intended to quit because he didn’t want to have to tell his child that he was a coward and agreed to something he didn’t believe in.

Since the government was sworn in last month, its apparent retreat on reforms has caused widespread alarm.

The decree has provoked a no-confidence motion from opposition parties, a court challenge from the top judicial watchdog and a warning from the EU Commission. Several countries have written a letter expressing deep concern.

Across Romania, the decree also brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets on Wednesday night – furious at the measure that will protect many politicians from corruption allegations.

In Bucharest the protest ended in clashes between police and a minority of protesters some described as football hooligans.

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