Victor Ponta resigns as Prime Minister
Prime Minister Victor Ponta has announced his resignation following the Colectiv Club tragedy in which 32 people died in a nightclub fire last Friday.
Subsequent to the disaster there have been mass protests demanding the prime minister’s, vice prime minister’s and Bucharest District 4 mayor’s resignations. Vice Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea and Bucharest District 4 Mayor, Cristian Popescu Piedone, also announced their resignations today.
In his resignation speech the Prime Minister said “I see the legitimate anger that exists in society. People feel the need for more and it would be wrong for me to ignore this. I file my mandate as prime minister and I do this because I resist political opponents, but I never fight the people.”
The Prime Minister has recommended that Defence Minister Mircea Dușa should replace his but as yet there has been no word from President Klaus Iohannis.
Whilst the nightclub tragedy may have triggered the resignation, the prime minister has been under pressure to resign for some time. In September he was charged with corruption and faces allegations of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. Back in June the President had called on Mr Ponta to resign as the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) announced that it was planning to prosecute the Prime Minister.
Coalition partner the National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR) has announced that it will continue to support the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD). The other coalition partner the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) has not declared its position as yet. Meanwhile the main opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) have called for a snap general election.
The president will now meet with all the political parties to see if it is possible to form a new government.