Romania Revamps Cabinet in Bid to End Worst Protests in Decades

  • Premier Sorin Grindeanu proposes independent justice minister
  • Tudose to become economy minister, Plumb EU funds minister

Protesters gather in front of the government headquarters at Victory Square in Bucharest, Romania, on Feb. 19, 2017.

Photographer: Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images

Romania named an independent justice minister as part of a cabinet revamp aimed at stemming the largest protests since the fall of communism.

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu nominated ex-Constitutional Court judge Tudorel Toader as justice minister, Mihai Tudose as economy minister -- replacing Alexandru Petrescu, who’ll become business environment minister -- and Rovana Plumb as European Union funds minister. The appointments require sign-off from President Klaus Iohannis.

The move comes seven weeks since Grindeanu took office and follows mass demonstrations demanding the Social Democrat-led government step down. The unrest erupted over legislative changes that would have decriminalized some corruption offenses and freed some convicted officials from prison. As the demonstrations reached 600,000 people nationwide, the government reversed the measures and the previous justice minister quit.

“The ruling party unanimously voted for mister Toader because we all appreciate his experience and he meets our criteria for in terms of professional quality,” Grindeanu said Wednesday in televised comments. “I wanted to reinforce our team, especially at the EU funds ministry, because we have an ambitious absorption target for this year.”

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