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Romania's lower house approves controversial judicial reforms

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Romania's lower house approves controversial judicial reforms

Romania's MPs approve controversial judicial reforms
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Romania's lower house of parliament, which is dominated by the ruling Social Democrats, has approved legislation to overhaul the country's justice system.

Two bills and a third which was approved on Monday, include changes to the jobs of magistrates and amends the definition of prosecutor activity to exclude the word "independent".

There will also be more restrictive criteria governing anti-corruption prosecutors.

The changes have triggered street protests across the county in recent weeks with many accusing the government of backtracking on anti-graft promises.They have also been criticised by Romania's president and the European Commission as threatening judicial independence.

The bills must now be approved by the Senate where a vote is expected next week.

Opposition parties and President Klaus Iohannis could challenge the bills at the Constitutional Court, but the outcome of that is unclear.