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Corruption et manifestations en Roumanie

Geneva Hub for Democracy Highlight Paper

Author(s):

Mihai Maci

Release Date:

March 2017

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At the beginning of this year, more than 250’000  Romanians took to the streets and gathered in the biggest protest since the fall of Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, because of a decree (Decree no. 13) that would have decriminalized corruption. More  precisely, the decree was to make abuse of power a crime only punishable by jail if the sums involved exceeded 200’000 lei (about 44’000 euros). Presented to the Romanian people as an alignment of the penal code with the constitution, the Decree was clearly an attempt by the government and the ruling party to let off many of its own officials and policy makers as well as to dilute the country’s anti-­corruption fight. Indeed, when Romania joined the European Union in 2007, the supranational institution pressured it to align with European norms in terms of justice, Rule of Law and the fight against corruption. For the last decade, Romania has created different institutions, like the National Anti-Corruption Directorate and the National Integrity Agency, to become a model in the anti-corruption fight in Eastern Europe. Hence, this paper aims to explain through an historical and political perspective  the elements that brought about Decree no.13 as well as the protests that took place and succeeded not only in cancelling the decree but also in making the Minister of Justice resign.