13 November 2015

On 30 October 2015, there was a deadly fire in a night club in Bucharest. More than 50 people died. Another 30 are in critical condition in hospitals.

The venue was overcrowded, lacked adequate emergency exits, and may not have been authorised to hold such an event. Safety at the club was compromised because of corruption. Or so, the people thought. One hundred thousand of them took to the streets to protest against the corruption in the government. President Klaus Iohannis attended a protest on Sunday night in Bucharest’s University Square. He wrote on his Facebook page: “I told people to stay involved, that only together we can all make Romania the country we want it to be.”

Prime Minister Victor Ponta and the entire government will resign later today (13 November 2015) . “I hope handing in my and my governments mandate will satisfy the demands of protesters”.
Cristian Popescu Piedone, the mayor of the district where the nightclub was located, has also resigned following criticism that he allowed the club to function despite not respecting the safety regulations. He said his government will stay on until a new Cabinet is installed.

High-level graft entrenched in the political system. Corruption includes conflicts of interest, abuse of power, fraud and the award of state contracts in exchange for bribes. Ponta himself is facing a trial for forgery, money laundering and complicity in tax evasion. He denied these charges.

The district mayor gave the night club a permit even though it lacked proof of the fire inspection. The owners barricaded the windows and back door. Too many people were allowed into the club on the night of the fire. The insulation in the building was not fireproof.