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Repercussions of the Romanian protests

February 8th, 2017

A left-wing and a conservative commentator find it sad that Hungarians do not seem to be bothered by corruption as much as the Romanian public. An alt-left blogger, on the other hand, thinks that the Romanian protests are not all about corruption and may have dire and unintended consequences.

Népszava’s Péter Somfai accuses  the Hungarian authorities of not even pretending to go after politicians suspected of corruption, while Romanian prosecutors have launched a fierce campaign against corrupt politicians and civil servants. The left-wing columnist praises the Romanian public for protesting against the government’s efforts to save corrupt politicians from prison.

(The decree, would have made abuse of power a crime punishable by jail only if the sums involved exceeded 200,000 lei, or 44,000 Euros. The decree was revoked under public pressure on Sunday.)

The Romanian public has a healthier sense of fairness, Magyar Nemzet’s Csaba Lukács comments. Although Hungary was deemed even more corrupt than Romania in Transparency International’s recent report (see BudaPost January 28), Hungarians do not seem to be that outraged by ever richer politicians, the independent conservative columnist notes. All this, Lukács believes, suggests that Hungarian civil society has a lot to learn from the Romanians.

In Kettős Mérce, Szilárd István Pap cautions against simplistic interpretations according to which the Romanian government the amendments that protesters demonstrated against were intended to weaken anti-corruption measures. The alt-left blogger suggests that the Romanian anti-corruption law is not properly worded, and thus corruption charges can be levelled against any public officials. This paralyzes several public offices. In conclusion, Pap claims that if the protesters succeed and force the government to resign, Romania may be taken over by ‘populist and demagogic illiberal parties.’


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