On December 11 2016, Romania had parliamentary elections. Our political system works like this: the party with most elect senators and deputats propose someone to be the Prime Minister to the President, who says yes or no. If it’s a yes, that person forms the Cabinet and starts ruling. So, PSD (Social Democrat Party) won 45%, they enlisted a smaller party (ALDE) and propose someone (Sevil Shhaideh) to President Iohannis (yes, a nationalist party proposed a Turk national to a German national president, that diverse we are). He refused on grounds of not enough experience and a husband with ties to Siria. The second proposition was an equally little known Sorin Grideanu, which the President accepted.
Grideanu build the Cabinet and started work.
The first order of business was a brutal attack on the justice system. They planned an Emergency Ordinance (which is a decree that the Govern can publish and act on without the approuval of the Parliament) to
- pardon some non-violent prisoners, claiming European Union advices on prison conditions (EU said, indeed, that our prisons have poor conditions), but the real target were some high-level convicts from the political arena, some which took 11 years to condemn.
- pardon some light infractions, with the real target of clearing the record of Mr. Liviu Dragnea, head of PSD, who wants to be Prime Minister or President, but the law says no convict can be so, as Dragnea was convicted without going to jail, but still it’s on his record.
- decriminalize certain offenses and move them from penal to civil offenses. the most debated is “abuse of office”, which they said if the damage is under 44.000€, it’s not a penal offense, it’s a civil matter and not even that if the suspect pays back the damage or the problem is not discovered in 6 months after it happened. Dragnea, again, is involved in a trial where he is accused of pushing his wife to commit abuse of office, risking to go to jail for a year if found guilty, and if this legislation is passed, the trial is dismissed.
- the “abuse of office” is what most people who steal from the state fear, because a lot of them steal by signing off on bad work, buying overpriced work and necessities and such stuff.
Now, some other problems:
- PSD and his cronies continue to lie that that the decree has nothing to do with them, but refuse to pull it back.
- they intended to pass it on a Cabinet meeting, but on that day the President came in (he can attend Cabinet meetings) and stopped it. they passed it on another day in an urgent non-scheduled meeting at 8pm and published it minutes later on the site on January 23.
- in the days following (such decree needs 10 days for time for the Penitentiary Comitee people to check which people should be freed, as to avoid keeping people in jail longer and trials for doing so) people took the streets in all cities, but PSD refused to pull the Decree, again, lying about how it’s not for them, it’s for the people.
- PSD has large support from a lot of people working for the state or wishing to work for the state, because it’s a cushy job that pays well and it’s not very stressful. these people vote for them regularly and support them all the way, not wanting to lose these jobs. but, also, PSD enjoys support from people who view corruption as a problem and don’t understand why those corrupt politicians must be freed from jail.
- freeing of convicts was proposed as a law and sent to Parliament, which will take probably 3 months to a year to be voted into law (this made PSD lose the support of Antena3, a FOX News type of television, belonging to a man, Dan Voiculescu, sentenced to 10 years of jail in an “abuse of office” situation, who postponed the trial for 11 years and has to do only 1/3 of his sentence, due to his old age).
Last night, Prime Minister Grideanu faced half a million people protesting and all he did was change a little the “abuse of office” decree, hoping to buy more time.