Bucharest (AFP) - Thousands of Romanians took to the streets Friday calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, favourite to win a presidency runoff this weekend, after a scandal over Romanians prevented from voting abroad.
Protesters slammed the first round of voting, on November 2, that saw thousands of Romanians living abroad unable to cast a ballot because of a shortage of polling stations.
"I came to defend my right to vote and to make sure my child will be able to vote when he's bigger, wherever he may be," said Alida Ristea, one of some 500 protesters in Bucharest.
More than 6,000 people marched through the town centre of the northwestern city of Cluj, according to the police. Protests of solidarity with Romanians abroad also took place in at least three other cities.
Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean submitted his resignation Monday following fierce criticism over the handling of the vote.
Thousands of Romanians living in countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom were unable to cast their ballots because of a shortage of polling stations.
About 10,000 protesters took to the streets last Saturday to accuse the government of "hobbling" the vote of Romanians abroad.
Ponta, a social democrat, finished first in the vote with 40 percent of the ballots, while his conservative rival Klaus Iohannis took 30 percent.
However, Iohannis won 46 percent of the vote among Romanians living abroad, while Ponta took 18 percent.
Ponta looked set to win Sunday's run-off in the corruption-plagued ex-communist state, amid fears that he may reverse key reforms.