Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced Sunday he will not resign amid nationwide protests against a recent government decision to decriminalize certain graft offenses, the country’s national news agency, AGER, reported.
More than 200,000 people flocked to the government building in capital Bucharest on Sunday, but the embattled prime minister was defiant.
“The manner though which a Government can be dismissed would be though a censure motion, because the other method, the one in which I would resign, it’s not possible, because I won’t resign,” he told reporters.
The emergency decree adopted last week decriminalizes graft cases in which the damages are valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800).
Met with a fiery backlash, Grindeanu said Saturday he will revoke it. “This is the democratic game and I believe that we have to return as urgent as possible to these notions,” he said of his about-face.
The decree, which came a month after Grindeanu Social Democrats-led government came to power, triggered the largest demonstrations in the country since the fall of communism in 1989.
In a letter sent to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, Prime Minister Grindeanu explained why his cabinet passed the controversial decree and a draft bill which includes prison pardons for several offenses.
His detractors claimed the decree would harm Romania’s fight against corruption.