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  2. Attempting Post-Communist Government
  3. Protests Demand New Government
  4. Basescu Faces Second Referendum
  5. Iohannis Becomes President in Election Shocker
  6. Ponta Resigns after Nightclub Fire Protests
Protests Demand New Government

On January 19, 2012, thousands of protesters gathered in Bucharest. The demonstration came after a week of protests, which at times turned violent and were against austerity measures. Protesters demanded new elections and called for President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Emil Boc to resign. Much like the situation in Spain and Greece, Romania's struggling economy has left many of its citizens frustrated. However, the incident that sparked the protests was the resignation of Raed Arafat, a popular health official. Arafat resigned earlier in January over a government proposal to partly privatize the country's medical emergency-response system. Arafat was reinstated and plans for the proposal were shelved, but the protests continued. According to Romania's media, fifty-five people were arrested and five were injured in the January 19 demonstration.

In February 2012, after weeks of protests, Prime Minister Emil Boc resigned. President Basescu immediately named Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu as the interim prime minister. Later Basescu nominated Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu as Boc's permanent replacement. Ungureanu's appointment was approved by the parliament. Ungureanu, a former foreign minister and the current director of Romania's foreign-intelligence service, assumed office on February 9, 2012. Protests continued through February, but on a smaller scale. The latest demonstrations reflected the protesters discontent with their wages, unemployment and corruption in the government.

Prime Minister Ungureanu promised to focus on reforms and maintaining the country's economic stability despite the ongoing political crisis. However, after just two and a half months, Ungureanu and his cabinet could not pass a no-confidence vote. In April 2012, President Basescu appointed Victor Ponta as the new prime minister. Ponta has been the leader of the Social Democratic Party since 2010.

Next: Basescu Faces Second Referendum
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