Romanian president says he won't seek to topple government

But authorities are sending mixed signals on whether the changes will be passed, with the Justice Ministry saying the bill was withdrawn to prepare a "more complex" one.

Separately, an estimated 200 pro-government protesters gathered outside centrist President Klaus Iohannis' office in support of Grindeanu. They say they believe the government is still not to be trusted, with many chanting "Resign!".

The decree sparked massive street protests in Romania for the past week - estimates place the crowd size at half a million people.

In another touchy decree, which needs parliamentary approval, the government aims to release up to 2,500 inmates who have served less than five years from prison.

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Speaking to a Romanian television broadcaster last week Dragnea called attention to the fact that the protests were "professionally organized".

"The resignation of a single minister is too little and early elections would at this stage be too much".

Drawing parallels between mass protests in 1989 and the ongoing turmoil in Romania Keno Verseck of Der Spiegel assumed that the people of Romania are "fed up" with political corruption and poverty.

Protests continued on February 6 outside the government building, with people calling for the government's resignation.

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"You won, now you govern and regulate, but not at any cost!"

The decree would have decriminalised a number of graft offences and effectively shielded dozens of public officials from prosecution for graft. In 2015, Romanians took to the streets after a tragic fire they blamed on corruption, eventually causing their prime minister and the entire government to resign. As Gregory Katz notes for the Associated Press, one of the main beneficiaries of the decree arguably would have been the party leader himself, whose path to becoming prime minister has been blocked because of corruption charges. But even if this motion is tabled, it is likely to be ignored by the protests since the credibility of all political parties, with the possible exception of the newly formed Save Romania Union (USR), is very weak. "This is not a spontaneous meeting, I mean, there is not only spontaneity", Dragnea said, as quoted by Romanian new agency Agerpres.

This, he said, would be the "question and the purpose" of a referendum, which would "really find out the will of the Romanian people".

Romania's Constitutional Court will rule this week on whether the original decree was legal.

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"On Dec. 11, the Social Democratic Party had a great victory [in the general election], but after that, ladies and gentlemen, with a odd Kamikaze-style strategy, they entered into a frontal collision with with an important part of Romanian society".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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