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Ponta Resigns after Nightclub Fire Protests

Prime Minister Ponta resigned on Nov. 4, 2015, in response to a nationwide protest demanding resignations after an Oct. 30 nightclub fire killed 32 people. Protesters took to the streets upset over the way Romanian authorities grant permits and inspect venues. An estimated 25,000 demonstrators marched in Bucharest. Ponta took responsibility for the nightclub fire and stepped down. In a press conference, he said, "I can carry any political battles, but I can't fight with the people." Ponta had ignored all previous calls for his resignation.

On Nov. 5, former Minister of Education Sorin Cimpeanu took over as an interim prime minister until parliament selected a new government. Leaving office, Ponta faced accusations of forgery, money-laundering, and being an accessory to tax evasion. The charges, which he has denied, were from his years practicing law. On Nov. 17, 205, former Agriculture Minister Dacian Ciolos took office as prime minister after receiving approval from Parliament. Ciolos' cabinet included twenty-one members, one third of them women.

See also Encyclopedia: Romania .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Romania

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