Unrest in Romania as judicial reform draws closer

romania protests
Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP
romania protests
Photo: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP

Today, Bucharest will see thousands march in protest of proposed legislation to reform the Romanian judicial system.

The country faced massive internal unrest nearly a year ago when the ruling centre-left Social Democrats passed a law that decriminalised large-scale corruption. Although it was later retracted, similar reforms were proposed last month that severely restrict the judiciary’s investigatory powers and independence.

Turmoil has become just as common in the government as in the streets. Two Prime Ministers resigned last year after falling out of favour with Liviu Dragnea, the powerful head of the Social Democrats who cannot lead himself due to a 2016 corruption conviction. Now, Romania will have its first female prime minister, Viorica Dancila. The long-time ally of Dragnea’s will likely last longer than the previous two.

At this point, only independent President Klaus Iohannis has the legal means to halt the reforms from becoming law. He has criticised them previously, but even a presidential block would be unlikely to end the country’s deeply rooted political crises.

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