Romania’s Prime Minister resigns after Colectiv protests

Victor Ponta

Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced his resignation on Wednesday morning after over 25,000 people went to the streets in Bucharest, on Tuesday night, asking the Government to take responsibility for the tragedy in club Colectiv last Friday in which 32 people lost their lives.

„I have the obligation to see the legitimate grief in society. People feel the need for more and it would be a mistake from my part to ignore this,” said Ponta, referring to the thousands of people who asked for his resignation after the tragedy on Friday.

„I don’t want to and I don’t think it’s fair to leave this responsibility to the people who were on the field, to the mayors, state secretaries, and ministers. I’m ready to do the gesture that a part of society expects from me and starting today I give up my mandate as a Prime Minister,” Ponta went on.

„I do this because in my years as a politician I’ve managed to withstand any political battle, but I will not fight the people,” he added.

Ponta expressed his hope that the people’s grief would not be used in power plays and that his gesture would appease the protesters. „I hope that my resignation and that of the Government will meet the expectations of those who protested.”

Ponta said that he and his ministers would continue to perform their duties until a new Government would be formed.

The Government’s resignation came as a surprise, as it is for the first time in the last 26 years when such a major political change is determined not by political games but by a spontaneous and peaceful protests. Some see Ponta’s decision, whether voluntary or determined by the pressure from his own party, as a gesture that empowers the people who protested on Tuesday night in Bucharest and other cities in Romania.

Comment: The death of men, the resurrection of a people

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