Romanian PM Victor Ponta announced on Wednesday he was giving up his mandate and the mandate of his government. He made the statement following a major march in Bucharest on Tuesday night, which saw 25,000 people protest his government and other authorities in the wake of a nightclub fire on Friday that killed 32 people and injured dozens of others.

Victor Ponta (foto arhiva)Foto: Agerpres
  • UPDATE Following Ponta's announcement, both the Social Democrats and deputy PM Gabriel Oprea's UNPR party announced they would want to remain in government, but Oprea dismissed the possibility of him retaining a government job. The opposition Liberals said they wanted early elections.  New protests are planned for Wednesday evening.
  • UPDATE 2 President Iohannis said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that the resignation of the government came "way too late" and that people had to die for it to happen. And he said he would start consultations with political parties tomorrow or the day after tomorrow

Political sources, then the leaders of Ponta's Social Democratic Party (PSD) said earlier today Ponta was due to step down.

"Starting today, I'm giving up my mandate and the mandate of the Romanian Government", Ponta said in his statement. He said he had "the obligation to acknowledge the legitimate anger within the society and the legitimate will to take greater responsibility than the owners of a company".

Some 25,000 people marched through Bucharest on Tuesday evening and called for the resignation of Ponta, his deputy PM Gabriel Oprea and other officials. The protest came as 32 people died so far and more than a hundred were injured following a fire in Bucharest's Colectiv nightclub on Friday, an accident many have come to blame on widespread corruption.

Ponta - who has been indicted under corruption-related charges earlier this year - has refused to step down until down. He had witdrawn from the help of the governing Social Democratic Party, but the party kept supporting him in office until today, when its new leader, Liviu Dragnea, announced Ponta was due to resign.