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January 25, 2022

New protests against pardons in Bucharest, 19 other Romanian cities and abroad

New protests against the Government’s ordinances on the granting of pardons and the amending of Criminal Codes were announced on Sunday, in a series of Facebook events, calls for protests in Bucharest, 19 other Romanian cities and 7 cities abroad, including Paris, London and Brussels, being issued the day before the Justice Ministry held a public debate on the topic. Protesters said they want to “visit” the headquarters of the Government, the National Audio-visual Council (CNA) and the Ombudsman.

“We don’t want the Government to resign, we want it to respect the promises for which it was elected. Not to propose absurd laws that are to the benefit of some persons. On Sunday, we will meet at University [Square], starting at 5 p.m.,” reads the manifesto of the event organised in Bucharest.

By Sunday morning, over 10,000 people had announced their intention to protest in Bucharest, Alba Iulia, Arad, Bacau, Baia Mare, Brasov, Buzau, Cluj, Constanta, Craiova, Deva, Galati, Pitesti, Ploiesti, Sibiu, Satu Mare, Targu Jiu, Alexandria, Turda and Ramnicu Valcea.

Likewise, protests were also announced in London, Paris, Brussels, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Zurich.

The protests were organised the day before the Justice Ministry is set to hold a public debate on the issue of the ordinances on the granting of pardons and the amending of the Criminal Codes.

The Justice Ministry announced that the debate, scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Monday, is open to all those who registered (over 200 persons) and will most likely take place in two rounds, given the location’s limited seat capacity.

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM) adopted, in the absence of Justice Minister Florin Iordache, a negative report on the draft emergency ordinances on the granting of pardons and the amending of Criminal Codes. CSM’s report is consultative.


PNL wants to recruit party members at the protests: Major chance to reinvigorate the party


The National Liberal Party (PNL) sees the protests as a chance to “reinvigorate” itself, following the failure registered in the December 2016 elections. That is what a Liberal Lower Chamber lawmaker said, inviting young people who take part in the protests to join the right-wing party.

PNL’s Ovidiu Raetchi says that the young people who are taking part in the protests and in the public debate generated by the two draft ordinances are welcome in PNL.

“Civil society’s resistance against PSD’s desire to dismantle the judiciary is exceptional. Without this resistance – and without President Iohannis’s efforts – the rule of law would have been gravely affected already. At a decisive moment of internal reform, willing to take responsibility for the errors of the past, the National Liberal Party has the duty – in my view – to invite the young people who are getting civically involved these days to join it in order to contribute to the rebirth of this great right-wing party. They are welcome within PNL. Only people like them can profoundly change the party,” Ovidiu Raetchi points out in a communique.

“Whether we like it or not, joining a political party represents the highest and most stable form of public participation. The errors that consecrated parties did throughout time can be set right only by isolating within the party, through massive involvement, the morally compromised characters. The rise of characters the likes of Liviu Dragnea or Victor Ponta wouldn’t have been possible had the trained and dynamic members of our generation engaged in politics,” the Liberal lawmaker emphasised.

Ovidiu Raetchi added that the involvement of the young members of civil society can significantly help out PNL’s internal reform process: “With a well-intentioned and clean political class, episodes that could have marred Romania for the next 10 years, like Black Tuesday did or the pardon ordinances are foreshadowed to do, wouldn’t have taken place anymore. It’s essential for PNL’s process of modernisation and internal reform for young members of civil society to become party members and, in the medium and long run, to want to accede to the party’s leadership bodies. PNL’s party convention will represent a new opportunity for the young party members to show how they contribute to the re-launch of the party and to the firm, trenchant and argued opposition to PSD.”

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