Romanian president challenges government decree in court

Romania 's President Klaus Iohannis addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday he had filed a challenge with the Constitutional Court to a government decree decriminalising some graft offenses and which has brought hundreds of thousands of Romanians out in protest.

“It is obviously a legal constitutional conflict between the government and the judicial system and parliament,” Iohannis said in a televised news conference.

He called on the Social Democrat-led government to repeal the decree, adopted late on Tuesday and which will enter into force in a little over one week unless the Constitutional Court rules against it.

Romania’s top judicial watchdog has also filed a court challenge to the decree.

Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Matt Robinson