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Feb 22, 11:38 AM EST

Romanian premier nominates former judge as justice minister


BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Romania's prime minister has nominated a former judge for justice minister after the man who held that position resigned over massive anti-corruption protests sparked by a decree that would have diluted the anti-graft fight.

Premier Sorin Grindeanu said Wednesday that he had nominated Tudorel Toader, a former judge of the constitutional court and not a member of the ruling Social Democrat party, to take over the justice portfolio.

The previous minister, Florin Iordache, resigned on Feb. 9 over a decree that reduced penalties for corruption. He said all his initiatives were "legal and constitutional" but that he had failed to placate "public opinion."

The decree sparked weeks of protests, the biggest since the overthrow of communism in the country.

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