The political class in Romania surpassed itself last week. Without any warning or discussion they passed a draft law to protect themselves against prosecution for corruption. Under the proposed law, the president, members of parliament, and lawyers would no longer be classed as public officials, thus protecting them from charges of abuse of office, bribe-taking, conflict of interest, and other corruption crimes, Officials who have been convicted of such crimes may be exonerated if the bill becomes law.
The bill has not yet been sent for President Basescu’s signature. He can return the bill for revision only once.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta – on his return from Nelson Mandela’s funeral - seemed to accept on 12 December that the law needed to be discussed again, and if it is endorsed by legal experts, that Romania should ask the European Commission to say whether it breaks any of the country’s international obligations.
The anti-corruption agency DNA says 28 parliamentarians are on trial or serving prison sentences for corruption and more than 100 mayors and deputy mayors are on trial for financial crimes. The bill sharply contradicts Romania’s obligations under European and UN anti-corruption agreements, the DNA said.
One frequent blogger on things Romanian sets the scene and gives further detail here