Bucharest, Romania – More than 70,000 people took to the streets of the main cities in Romania on Wednesday. An estimated 35,000 marched through Bucharest and occupied the centre of the city blocking traffic in the area.
On Wednesday morning, Victor Ponta, Romania’s prime minister, resigned after 25,000 people demanded he step down over the nightclub fire that left 32 people dead and more than 130 still in hospitals.
During the day on Wednesday, the general feeling after Ponta’s resignation was one of victory, but Romanians are expressing a broader discontent that goes beyond one government or the other.
They were chanting: “You can’t buy me with a resignation or two,” which goes to prove that civil society is battling first and foremost the endemic corruption in the country.
Distrust with the political elite is so far reaching in Romania, that people are simply demanding a clean slate. With the premier Ponta gone from office, scrutiny shifted towards the Romanian president Klaus Iohannis.
According to the constitution, after negotiations with political parties represented in parliament, Iohannis has to name a new head of government. Protesters want to prevent the same corrupt political elite from coming to power.
“Iohannis, you only get one chance,” tens of thousands of Romanians shouted during the protests.
There is a buzzing initiative on Romanian social media that lists possible civil society candidates suitable for public office who should replace politicians in government and other agencies.