Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta Resigns After Nightclub Fire Protests
The nightclub fire in Romania that has claimed 32 lives and left over 100 more being treated for various injuries has affected many and its reach has now brought down the nation's prime minister. According to The Guardian, Victor Ponta has delivered his resignation after protests and demonstrations continued to happen in the aftermath of the Colectiv nightclub fire.
“I’m handing in my mandate. I’m resigning -- and implicitly my government too,” Victor Ponta said, adding that he would stay on until a new government was in place. “I am obliged to take note of the legitimate grievances which exist in society. I hope handing in my and my government’s mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters.”
Approximately 20,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on Tuesday evening (Nov. 3), calling for the resignation of Ponta, interior minister Gabriel Oprea and district mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone. Piedone resigned on Wednesday, stating, "I assume the moral blame. As for the legal, I will leave it to justice to pronounce."
The incident that is at the center of the outrage is the Colectiv nightclub fire that occurred as the metal band Goodbye to Gravity were staging their record release party. During their performance, a pyrotechnic spark reportedly ignited the foam insulation causing a rapidly spreading fire. Reports stated that the venue only had two exits and people were trampling each other to get out. Two of the 32 people dead in the incident were the band's two guitarists, while the group's singer sustained burns over 45 percent of his body and the bassist was rushed into emergency surgery. In all, the Guardian states that 130 people remain hospitalized with dozens in serious or critical condition. This comes on the heels of the three owners of the Colectiv nightclub being arrested and charged on suspicion of manslaughter.
There has been talk of rampant corruption within Ponta's government as is. The prime minister had been indicted on charges of corruption this summer. Despite calls for his resignation, Ponta remained in office until the pressure from the demonstrators over the nightclub fire led him to relent.
Rockers We've Lost in 2015