Victor Ponta
Romanian politician
Victor Ponta
Victor-Viorel Ponta is a Romanian jurist and politician who has served as Prime Minister of Romania since May 2012. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and its leader since 2010, as well as joint leader of the Social Liberal Union, he has been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Gorj County since 2004. In the Emil Boc cabinet, he was Minister-Delegate for Relations with Parliament from 2008 to 2009.
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Romania's ex-PM Ponta in court on graft charges
Yahoo News - over 1 year
Victor Ponta, who quit as Romania's prime minister this week after mass protests, made his first appearance in court on corruption charges. As thousands of people again took to the streets demanding the overhaul of a political system they see as corrupt, President Klaus Iohannis said the country may hold early elections or seek to form a government of technocrats. Ponta who resigned on Wednesday after huge street protests sparked by a deadly nightclub fire, appeared at the High Court of Justice for a preliminary hearing on charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
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Yahoo News article
Romanian PM quits over club blaze, but protesters unsatisfied
Yahoo News - over 1 year
Romania's embattled Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigned Wednesday, after a deadly nightclub blaze prompted mass demonstrations, but his move failed to stop tens of thousands from taking to the streets for a second night. The 43-year-old prime minister announced the dissolution of the government on television, saying top officials had to take responsibility for Friday's tragedy at the Colectiv disco in Bucharest. Ponta, Romania's premier since 2012, had been under pressure to quit weeks before the blaze, after going on trial in September on charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
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Yahoo News article
Prime Minister Ponta of Romania Resigns
NYTimes - over 1 year
Prime Minister Victor Ponta of Romania said he is resigning in the wake of public discontent after a fire killed 32 people in a Bucharest nightclub.
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NYTimes article
Thousands protest against Romanian premier after 32 die in fire - Chicago Tribune
Google News - over 1 year
Washington Post Thousands protest against Romanian premier after 32 die in fire Chicago Tribune BUCHAREST, Romania - Thousands gathered at an unannounced protest in the center of Bucharest on Tuesday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta after 32 people died in a nightclub fire last week. Demonstrators also requested the ... The Latest: 20000 march against government in RomaniaSacramento Bee Romania's Prime Minister Resigns After Protests Over Deadly Nightclub FireNew York Times Protests drive out Romanian government after nightclub fireWashington Post euronews all 1,383 news articles »
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Mexico Misses An Opportunity To Address Corruption And Press Freedom
Huffington Post - over 1 year
MEXICO CITY -- When President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke at a global conference on open government Wednesday morning, he could have addressed Mexico's record on human rights and press freedom, including a still-unexplained attack on 43 Mexican students one year ago. He did not. Instead, the president delivered a glowing account of Mexico's efforts on open government that went largely unchallenged -- at least onstage. After Peña Nieto's speech, activists took to the street outside the event, and hundreds of people from across Latin America met nearby to protest the Mexican government's record of corruption and human rights abuses.  The extraordinary Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City has hosted many productions in its history, but it's quite possible that it's never played host to political theater on the scale of the opening plenary for the Open Government Partnership's annual summit. Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who spoke before Peña Nieto, was indicted on corru ...
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Huffington Post article
Romania PM fights resignation push after corruption probe
Yahoo News - over 1 year
Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta refused to step down after being hit on Friday by corruption allegations, the highest sitting leader targeted in a long-running anti-graft campaign in one of the EU's poorest nations. President Klaus Iohannis, Ponta's conservative rival, called for his resignation after the powerful DNA anti-corruption agency launched a probe into the social democrat premier. The president said the allegations of money laundering, tax evasion and conflict of interest put the country in "an impossible situation".
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Romanian minister found guilty of vote-rigging in referendum
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
By Luiza Ilie BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A senior Romanian minister was convicted on Friday of electoral fraud over a 2012 attempt to impeach a president and political rival, a judgment that dealt a blow to Prime Minister Victor Ponta's efforts to demonstrate to the EU a hard line on graft. Regional development minister Liviu Dragnea was convicted of masterminding a campaign to use bribes and forged ballot papers to swing an impeachment vote against then president Traian Basescu, arch rival of Ponta's ruling Social Democrats. Dragnea, 52, is the second member of Ponta's cabinet felled by graft charges in the European Union state, after the finance minister was put under investigation in March and resigned. FAKE BALLOTS In July 2012, Ponta's ruling Social Democrats and their allies tried to oust arch rival Basescu, from the presidency.
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Romanian PM nominates himself as interim finance minister
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
By Radu-Sorin Marinas BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's prime minister nominated himself to take over the finance ministry portfolio temporarily he said on Friday, after the previous minister became the most senior sitting politician to be investigated in a corruption crackdown. Victor Ponta would be taking over days before his government is set to approve sweeping tax cuts for 2016-2019 designed to stimulate economic growth, but which analysts have criticized as unsustainable. Ponta has insisted his government's fiscal policy would not be derailed by ongoing corruption probes. Ponta also faces potentially difficult talks in April with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to negotiate the terms of an ongoing standby aid deal that expires in September.
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Don't treat us as second-rate citizens, Romanian PM tells Britain - Evening Standard
Google News - about 3 years
Evening Standard Don't treat us as second-rate citizens, Romanian PM tells Britain Evening Standard The prime minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, has called on Britain not to treat Romanians as "second-rate citizens" when work restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian workers are lifted on January 1. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced measures ... David Cameron faces unrest over EU migration from inside 'We are not second-rate citizens!': Romanian Prime Minister tells Britain not to ...Daily Mail Romanian PM Warns UK: We're Not Second-RateSky News The Times (subscription) all 72 news articles »
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China looking for new markets in Eastern Europe
San Francisco Chronicle - about 3 years
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — China wants to do business in Eastern Europe, the prime minister said Tuesday, as he and 300 company executives prepared to meet the region's political leaders. "China needs long-term trustworthy political friends and commercial partners at a world level while Romania and the countries in the region have a tradition in this sense," said Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta. China's relations with countries in the region were generally strong during the communist era and, apart from the occasional rows over meetings with the Dalai Lama and crackdowns on Chinese immigrants, Eastern European countries are less critical of China's human rights record.
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Romania government agrees 2014 budget with IMF, EU
Yahoo News - over 3 years
Romania's leftist government has agreed a budget plan for 2014 with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission under an aid deal, introducing new taxes but raising the minimum wage, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday. IMF and EU representatives were in Bucharest to review Romania's third aid deal since 2009. The government does not intend to draw on the 4 billion euros made available.
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Victor Ponta
  • 2015
    Age 42
    Ponta resigned the party leadership in July 2015, amidst an ongoing corruption investigation. In April 2012, after the government of Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu fell due to the passage of a motion of no confidence, President Traian Băsescu designated Ponta as Prime Minister.
    More Details Hide Details His cabinet, including ministers from the PSD, the PNL, independents and one from the Conservative Party (PC), received parliamentary approval the following month, and Ponta thus became prime minister. Upon taking office in the midst of a continent-wide recession, he vowed to promote economic growth and job creation solely from within the private sector, but also to increase public-sector salaries. In June, the USL came in first overall at the local election; Ponta singled out the alliance's victory in Bucharest as a "historic moment". In the opening weeks of his mandate, Ponta became involved in several controversies. His government transferred oversight of the Romanian Cultural Institute from the Presidency to the Parliament, claiming this would increase transparency. However, the move drew criticism from its head, Horia-Roman Patapievici, as well as from other artists and cultural figures who feared the institute would become politicized. His steps to change the leadership of Romanian Television provoked dissension from many of the broadcaster's employees, who charged the government with "destroying" public television. He pushed through a new electoral law establishing a first-past-the-post voting system, but this was rejected by the Constitutional Court. A dispute with Băsescu arose over who would represent Romania at the European Council, with the court ruling in the latter's favor, although Ponta attended the subsequent council nevertheless.
    In June 2015, the DNA opened a criminal investigation against Ponta, alleging forgery, complicity in tax evasion and money laundering allegedly committed while he was a lawyer; and a conflict of interest for naming former business associate Dan Șova to several positions while prime minister.
    More Details Hide Details Iohannis called on Ponta to resign, which the latter refused to do. Subsequently and in accord with his expressed wishes, the Chamber rejected the prosecutorial request to lift his immunity; most of those siding with him came from the PSD, as well as its allies (UNPR, PC and PLR), and the ethnic minorities parties. Later that month, Ponta left for Turkey to undergo knee surgery; during his recovery, Gabriel Oprea took over as interim prime minister, serving until Ponta's return in early July. Days later, he resigned as PSD president, citing a desire to safeguard the party's image while he faces criminal charges; Rovana Plumb took over on an interim basis. The DNA then formally indicted Ponta, initiating procedures to freeze a part of his assets. From the end of July until early August, Ponta took another leave of absence for rest purposes, with Oprea again stepping in on a temporary basis. The case was sent to trial in September; Ponta was charged along with four other defendants, including Șova.
  • 2014
    Age 41
    In December 2014, citing the controversy surrounding his thesis, asked that the University of Bucharest withdraw his doctoral title.
    More Details Hide Details The university responded that it would comply with his request. Later that month, his government adopted an ordinance allowing individuals to renounce academic diplomas and titles; the move was criticized by the student federation ANOSR.
    A finalist in the November 2014 presidential election, Ponta lost to PNL candidate Klaus Iohannis.
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    In late July 2014, Ponta launched his candidacy for the upcoming presidential race, at the same time beginning to attack his chief rival, Iohannis.
    More Details Hide Details He placed first in the election's first round, with 40.4% of the vote, and faced Iohannis in the runoff. In the second round, he was defeated by Iohannis on a 54.5%-45.5% margin. Reportedly, an important factor in his defeat was the poor organization of the election's first round among the Romanian diaspora. This voting bloc and its domestic sympathizers were galvanized to turn out against Ponta in the second round. The following month, the UDMR quit the government, and Ponta subsequently formed his fourth cabinet, in which he also included two ministers apiece from the PC and the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR).
    In February 2014, the PNL left the government, marking the end of the USL, the precipitating motive being Ponta's refusal to name Klaus Iohannis as deputy prime minister.
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  • 2013
    Age 40
    These grew especially apparent in April 2013, when Ponta, as interim Justice Minister, named Laura Codruța Kövesi to head the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in spite of objections from the PNL, who viewed her as a Băsescu ally.
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  • 2012
    Age 39
    Following the USL victory at the December 2012 parliamentary election, including Ponta winning 61% of the vote in his own seat, where he was challenged by Dan Diaconescu, Băsescu named Ponta to another term as premier.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequently, the two signed a cooperation accord, while tensions with the PNL deepened.
    In August 2012, three individuals filed suit against Ponta, asking prosecutors to open a legal case against him for intellectual fraud.
    More Details Hide Details The latter opted against proceeding, the former appealed, and in March 2014, the High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected their appeal.
    In August 2012, he was elected a vice president of the Socialist International.
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    Beginning in July 2012, Ponta found himself at the heart of a political crisis.
    More Details Hide Details This culminated in Băsescu's suspension from office by Parliament, an action strongly promoted by Ponta, and which triggered an unsuccessful referendum on impeaching Băsescu.
    Prior to the 2012 legislative election, opposition campaigner Adriean Videanu charged that Ponta's "blackmail" and "threats" had pushed Panait to kill himself.
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  • 2011
    Age 38
    In November 2011, Ponta led a successful effort to remove Geoană both from the PSD and from the Senate leadership.
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    In February 2011, he and Crin Antonescu, head of the National Liberal Party (PNL), formed the Social Liberal Union (USL), a political alliance in opposition to the governing Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L).
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  • 2010
    Age 37
    During Ponta's first two years in office, his cabinets significantly raised the salaries of public-sector employees, which Băsescu and his allies had cut by 25% in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details At the same time, he raised or introduced a number of taxes and fees, one of the most widely-felt being an increase in the fuel tax. He confronted two environmentally sensitive issues: the Roșia Montană Project, which he initially opposed but later became more open to the idea; and shale gas extraction through fracking, which he first backed but then shifted to preferring exploitation of natural gas from the Black Sea.
    In February 2010, he was elected PSD president at a party congress, defeating incumbent Mircea Geoană, who had narrowly lost a bid to become President of Romania several months earlier.
    More Details Hide Details The feud between Geoană and Ponta continued beyond the latter's election as party leader; for instance, six months later, Ponta alleged that "moguls" such as Sorin Ovidiu Vântu had total control over PSD decision-making during Geoană's tenure, a charge the latter denied and attributed to a hidden desire of Ponta's to see him ejected from the post of Senate President.
  • 2009
    Age 36
    Together with his PSD colleagues, Ponta resigned from the cabinet on 1 October 2009, in protest at the dismissal of vice prime minister and Interior Minister Dan Nica.
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  • 2006
    Age 33
    In 2006, a civil servant at the Ministry of Education (who was in an ongoing feud with Ponta) charged that Ponta, while holding this office, covered up corrupt activities undertaken by former minister Hildegard Puwak, who was cleared of wrongdoing in a report issued by Ponta.
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  • 2005
    Age 32
    In 2005, he became a vice president of Ecosy, while he has been a vice president of the PSD since December 2006.
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  • 2004
    Age 31
    The couple's relationship had become serious in 2004, after Ponta's son was born; they had a daughter in March 2008 and married in a Romanian Orthodox ceremony in the church in Bucharest's Grădina Icoanei that June.
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    At the 2004 election, Ponta won a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, where he served as both secretary and vice president of its permanent bureau; he was re-elected in 2008.
    More Details Hide Details That December, he became a minister in the incoming Boc cabinet. Upon winning confirmation, Ponta pledged to reduce the number of emergency ordinances issued by the government and to assist Parliament in exercising control over the cabinet. Among his activities was to help steer a new civil and penal code through Parliament. Among the more controversial provisions in these codes that Ponta defended (both as minister and as head of the parliamentary committee drafting the legislation) were one presuming that any defensive act done at night at home would be considered legitimate self-defence; and one banning therapeutic abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy, which received sharp criticism from several NGOs. Ponta, nicknamed "Little Titulescu" by Năstase, has been known to criticise both members of his own party, commenting that then-mayor of Sector 5 Marian Vanghelie (known for his gaffes) "is such a philosopher that not even I can understand him"; and of the PD-L, remarking, after the two parties had entered a governing coalition, that his Gorj County parliamentary colleagues are "parrots, liars and dimwits".
  • 2002
    Age 29
    A PSD member by 2002, he was from July to November of that year head of the Interim National Council of the Social Democratic Youth (TSD).
    More Details Hide Details That October, he became a member of the PSD's national council, and joined its executive bureau the following month, when he also became president of the TSD, remaining as such for four years.
  • 2001
    Age 28
    In 2001 he also joined the supervisory council of the Authority for State Assets Recovery, and that year he was part of a special committee investigating penal infractions committed by members of the government.
    More Details Hide Details In March 2004, he became Minister-Delegate for Control of International Grant Programmes Implementation and for Monitoring the Application of the Acquis Communautaire.
    From 2001 to 2004, Ponta held the rank of Secretary of State as head of the government's Control Department.
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  • 2000
    Age 27
    Until the controversy began and his official curriculum vitae was modified, he claimed in the document to have received a master's degree in International Criminal Law from the University of Catania in 2000.
    More Details Hide Details That institution's rector replied to an enquiry by stating an internal verification had revealed Ponta was never at the University of Catania. In turn, Ponta stated that he took a course there and received a diploma.
    From 2000 to 2001, he coordinated the Bureau for Combating Money Laundering.
    More Details Hide Details In April 2002, Cristian Panait, a prosecutor involved in cases connected to then-Prime Minister Adrian Năstase, fell from the third-floor window of his home. He died the following day, and the incident was ruled a suicide a day later. The following January, his aunt filed suit to contest the fact that no charges were filed, claiming his superiors pushed him toward suicide. The complained also mentioned Panait's fellow prosecutor Ponta, claiming the former had told her, "that dog Victor Ponta did me in". She also said the two had been friends until Panait accused Ponta of influence peddling due to what he saw as the latter's involvement with underworld figures. In reply, Ponta mentioned he had called for the investigation into Panait's death to be reopened, stating the two had not met for some six months before that event, and that there had been no breach in their friendship.
  • 1998
    Age 25
    Ponta and his first wife Roxana, a high school sweetheart, have one son; they were married in 1998 and divorced in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details That October, in China, he quietly wed Daciana Sârbu, a future Member of the European Parliament and the daughter of Ponta's Boc cabinet colleague Ilie Sârbu.
    From 1998 to 2001, he was a prosecutor at the Supreme Court of Justice in the anti-corruption division, in particular dealing with economic and financial crimes.
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  • 1995
    Age 22
    From 1995 to 1998, Ponta worked as a prosecutor handling cases at the Sector 1 courthouse.
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    In 1995, he graduated from the University of Bucharest's Law faculty.
    More Details Hide Details He received a degree from the Carol I National Defence University in 2002, and in 2003 received a doctorate in Criminal Law from the University of Bucharest and a master's degree in Political Management from the Social Democratic Institute. He has written several books in his field, including one on the International Criminal Court, the subject of his doctoral thesis. Between 1996 and 1998, and since 2002, he has taught Criminal Law at the Romanian-American University.
  • 1991
    Age 18
    Victor Ponta was born in Bucharest, completing secondary studies in 1991 at the city's Ion Neculce High School.
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  • 1989
    Age 16
    Ponta is the winner of the 1989 youth national championship in basketball, where he played for CSA Steaua București; and of the 2008 Dacia Logan Cup, where he was a co-pilot.
    More Details Hide Details In addition, he is an avowed supporter of FC Steaua București football club. He was made a knight of the National Order for Faithful Service in 2002, and in 2004 received the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity.
  • 1972
    Born on September 20, 1972.
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