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Romanian parliament scraps controversial amnesty bill


AFP Bucharest
Romanian lawmakers on Wednesday scrapped a bill that would have given politicians a way to avoid jail for corruption as the Social Democrat (PSD) minority government faces collapse.
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila is fighting for her political survival after the PSD's junior partner quit the coalition on Monday, leaving the EU member state's first woman leader with a minority government.
The legal amendments proposed by the PSD in 2017, which prompted mass demonstrations, would have pardoned all prisoners serving sentences of up to five years except for those found guilty of violent offences.
A total of 177 legislators from all around the political spectrum voted against the changes, while only one voted in favour of them and two abstained, burying the PSD proposals.
Romanians overwhelmingly voted against the amendments in a referendum on May 26, held on the same day as the European elections, where the PSD also suffered a sound drubbing.
Critics and the opposition have said that dozens of politicians, mostly from the ruling PSD, would have benefited from the legal changes -- including strongman Liviu Dragnea, who headed the party until May when he was jailed for corruption, leaving Dancila to take over.
Brussels has also regularly warned the left-wing government in Bucharest not to pursue the changes, saying it would mean a "backtracking" of the rule-of-law progress made since 2007, when the country joined the European Union.
Tens of thousands of Romanians have protested the reforms in mass demonstrations. One of them, held a year ago, saw violent clashes between protesters and security forces.

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First Published: Aug 28 2019 | 9:20 PM IST

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