With a huge chunk of parliamentarians missing from the vote, the Senate rejected Thursday the ordinance that changes the attributions of the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (PNA) and turning it into a National Deparment against Corruption (DNA). DNA would have been allowed to investigate and judge graft allegations against parliamentarians, which PNA could not.

The move sparked tough reactions from the US, British and EU diplomatic missions to Bucharest, which voiced concern about the Senate move and its huge implications on the overall fight against corruption in Romania.

Romanian and international media saw the Senate decision as a step back from the campaign for the reform of the judiciary and the fight against graft in a country where Justice remains an issue that can block its attempt to join the European Union in January 2007.

Cristian Parvulescu, The head of the Pro Democratia Association, a human rights NGO, has explained that the involvement of the civil society was necessary as Romania faces a crisis following the Senate vote.

He and other NGO representatives called in a press conference for President Traian Basescu to reject the bill and the Government to take responsibility before the Parliament for a law on the re-organization of the DNA.

It is the first time after the current governing alliance rose to power when the civil society takes a common stand on a sensitive political issue. The same NGOs that spoke up on Friday were famous before the 2004 general elections for their voiced stand against alleged actions of graft and abuse by the former Social-Democratic government.