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Romanian Government Steps Down After Mass Protests

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta (file photo)

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has announced the resignation of his government following mass protests in the wake of a deadly nightclub fire.

"I'm handing in my mandate, I'm resigning, and implicitly my government too," Ponta said in a statement on November 4.

Some 20,000 people took to the streets of Bucharest on November 3, calling for the resignation of Ponta, Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, and a district mayor, after an October 30 fire at a nightclub killed 32 people and injured dozens of others.

The protesters blamed the problems that led to the blaze on official corruption.

Ponta, 43, has been under growing pressure to quit after he became the first sitting Romanian head of government to go on trial in September, charged with fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP