Ponta, Victor

Ponta, Victor vēkˈtôr pônˈtä [key], 1972–, Romanian lawyer and politician, Ph.D. Univ. of Bucharest Law School, 2003. Ponta has taught at the Romanian-American Univ. of Bucharest (1996–98, 2002–10), written several books on the law, and served as a prosecutor (1995–2001) and in several other government positions (2001–4). A member of the Social Democratic party (PSD) and a leader of the Social Liberal Union (USL), he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2004. Ponta was named PSD leader in 2010, and in May, 2012, he became prime minister of a center-left coalition government. He subsequently led a failed attempt to remove President Traian Basescu from office. In Dec., 2012, the PSD-led coalition won the majority of parliamentary seats, and Ponta was again named prime minister. He ran for president in 2014 but lost to Klaus Iohannis in a runoff. In 2015 he was named in a corruption investigation, and charged with tax evasion, money laundering, and other crimes, and resigned as PSD chairman. He later resigned as prime minister following public protests after a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest. He was excluded from the PSD in 2017 after a dispute with his successor as party chairman, and formed the Pro Romania party. He was acquitted of the corruption charges in 2018.

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