Romania bars top ex-communists from public office

Bucharest, 28 February 2012 (MIA) - More than two decades after the fall of communism in Romania, politicians passed a law Tuesday barring senior ex-communists from holding public office for the next five years, AFP repors.

Some observers were sceptical of the impact of the new law, which comes 22 years after the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu's regime in the eastern European nation, and would not affect former communists already in office.

"We are going to contest it before the Constitutional Court," said Florin Iordache of the Social Democratic party. "It's unacceptable for such a law to be adopted 22 years after the fall of communism."

The law was originally proposed seven years ago but faced constitutional challenges. Such legislation is known as "lustration" and is aimed at stopping officials from a fallen regime segueing into a new one.

Under the new legislation, which still must be signed by the president, anyone who was a former minister, prosecutor, communist committee member, informer or secret police member would be barred for the next five years from seeking certain high-profile public roles such as president, legislator or mayor.

An initial version of the law was adopted in 2010 but declared unconstitutional.

Ceausescu ruled Romania with an iron fist from 1965 to 1989.

As communist regimes crumbled across eastern and central Europe, he and his wife fled massive protests in Bucharest and other cities. They were executed after a summary trial in December 1989.

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