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Romanian president lambasts govt over crisis

For over a week, hundreds of thousands of people have protested against the government after it passed a decree to decriminalise some official corruption. "Romania needs a government that governs transparently, predictably, not at night in secret", Iohannis said, in a reference to the government passing an emergency decree at midnight on January 31.

The move — which bypassed Parliament and was not signed off by Iohannis, who has limited powers — ignited the biggest protests seen since communism ended in the country in 1989.

An estimated half a million people have once again held rallies across Romania despite the government backing down over a controversial decree.

The 43-year-old also accused opposition-backed President Klaus Iohannis of benefiting from the public anger to "install his own government".

Social Democratic Party (PSD) chief Liviu Dragnea, who is also speaker of the lower house, and Senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu refused to greet the president when he arrived at the joint session of parliament.

Romania's government, installed a month ago, on Wednesday easily survived a motion of no-confidence initiated by main opposition the National Liberal Party, as the motion had only got 161 votes in favor, far from the required minimum of 233 votes.

"A lot of the people on the streets are too young to remember that", Thorpe says, "but they're aware of a protesting tradition in Romania, starting with the revolution". The protestors wish to send a message to the government to refrain from retreating against the country's fight against corruption. The government said its chief aim had been to relieve pressure on Romania's overcrowded jails.

At least 5,000 protesters gathered outside government headquarters late on Wednesday to demand the cabinet's resignation, despite a snowstorm, subzero temperatures and power blackouts.

Thousands gathered for the eighth consecutive evening in Victory Square outside the government offices, shouting "Social Democratic Party, the red plague!" and "Resign!". Romania has long struggled with corruption and kleptocracy, but a concerted campaign has finally begun to make a visible dent in the problem; the country's anti-corruption office now has over 2,100 pending investigations.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu rejected the accusation.

For those unfamiliar, people in Romania were protesting against an executive order that would have allowed many top politicians to dodge criminal investigations and even avoid prison time. "This is not a spontaneous meeting, I mean, there is not only spontaneity", Dragnea said, as quoted by Romanian new agency Agerpres.

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