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Romanian government survives censure motion

Romanian government survives censure motion Romania's prime minister Sorin Grindeanu speaking in Parliament

BUCHAREST (Romania), February 8 (SeeNews) - A censure motion against Romania's cabinet led by Sorin Grindeanu failed on Wednesday as opposition lacked enough votes and the governing coalition did not vote.

Opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Save Romania Union (USR) filed the censure motion against the government last Wednesday over a decree alleviating or eliminating penalties for corruption offences that has sparked massive protests all over the country and abroad.

The censure motion was approved by a total of 161 MPs from right-wing PNL, centre-right USR, centre-right Popular Movement Party (PMP) and by some members of the national minorities group, according to figures data posted on the website of the lower house of parliament.

Out of 432 MPs present, 8 voted against the motion, while 33 abstained. In order to pass, the motion needed to be approved by 233 MPs.

The coalition government comprising left-wing Social Democrat Party (PSD) and centre-right Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE) and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) ensured the necessary quorum but did not vote.

PSD and ALDE control among themselves a comfortable majority of 250 of 463 seats in the parliament elected on December 11.

On Tuesday, Romania's president Klaus Iohannis said that he does not want the government to resign, even though he finds it responsible for the crisis that sparked the largest street protests since the fall of communism.

Iohannis also said he does not want early elections.

On Sunday, the government revoked an emergency decree adopted just days before that would have weakened Romania's fight against corruption and helped politicians avoid criminal prosecution on graft charges. Even though the act was repealed, some 500,000 protesters all over Romania on Sunday urged the government to step down, particularly after local media reported there was a serious legal glitch in the government's decision to scrap the emergency decree.

The government approved the decree at 21.00 CET on Tuesday and hastily published in the Official Gazette. The decree decriminalised several offences and made abuse of office punishable by jail terms only if that offence has resulted in a loss of more than 200,000 lei ($47,500/44,000 euro).

Last week, technocrat minister responsible for business environment, Florin Jianu, resigned because of the protests.

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