Romania’s Justice Minister Quits as Mass Protests PersistBy and
Iordache was key figure in government plans that riled public
Demonstrators planning to ramp up rallies again this weekend
Romania’s justice minister quit in a renewed bid to placate protesters who’ve continued to turn out even after the government reversed course on controversial measures seen as damaging to anti-graft efforts.
Florin Iordache, 56, announced his resignation Thursday, having been at the center of plans to ease punishment against corrupt officials that brought as many as 600,000 people into streets across the eastern European nation. The cabinet survived a no-confidence motion in parliament the previous day after lawmakers from the ruling Social Democrats boycotted it.
“I followed all the legal steps to fix a series of problems,” Iordache told reporters in televised remarks. “All initiatives were legal and constitutional. But this wasn’t sufficient for public opinion so I decided to step down.”
The biggest demonstrations since the fall of communism continued on Wednesday, though turnout was down significantly from its peak, with about 6,000 people attending in Bucharest and several thousand more in other big cities, according to local media estimates. Protesters plan larger rallies this weekend.
Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu proposed European Affairs Minister Ana Birchall as interim justice minister. Iordache is the second member of the government to depart since the protests began, following Business Environment Minister Florin Jianu, who resigned in opposition to the government’s stance.