Romania: Prosecutors oppose effort to weaken misconduct law

Anti-corruption prosecutors in Romania say a government proposal to decriminalize some official misconduct will lead to an increase in corruption.

The National Anticorruption Directorate said Tuesday that the emergency ordinance the government is seeking would "encourage the abusive behavior of public workers, dishonesty, (and) immorality."

A draft of the proposal shows the government plans to pardon thousands of prisoners and decriminalize cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is valued at less than 200,000 lei ($47,800.) Tens of thousands of Romanians have protested, saying the measure would weaken anti-graft efforts.

The government says the measure is needed to reduce prison overcrowding.

Justice Minister Florin Iordache has denied it was designed to benefit politicians, a number of whom have been caught up in the country's fight against high-level corruption.