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Romania's former PM Ponta in court on corruption charges

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By Keith Walker
Romania's former PM Ponta in court on corruption charges

Romania’s former prime minister Victor Ponta appeared in court on Friday morning (November 6) on charges of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.

Ponta resigned unexpectedly earlier this week following months of anti-corruption protests. Tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded his resignation over a deadly fire in a Bucharest nightclub last weekend.

“It was a good, normal hearing,” Ponta told reporters after his appearance. “If I’d been given the opportunity to tell the prosecutor what I have said here today, there probably would be no case. I thank the court for giving me this opportunity.”

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who was elected on an anti-corruption ticket last year, is expected to take a few more days to pick a new prime minister.

Most commentators expect a new cabinet to emerge during the coming weeks.

In the meantime Romania’s education minister has stepped into the role of interim prime minister.

Senior politicians said their parties made no proposals during a first round of consultations with the president.