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Romania's Political System

Following the Constitution of 1991, most recently amended in 2003, Romania is a democratic unity state. The form of government combines the presidential and parliamentary, inspired by the French Fifth Republic. On the one hand, the head of state, a president-elect for five years with the possibility of re-election once, has some executive functions, including in foreign policy. On the other hand, there is a government, starting from and responsible to the National Assembly (Parliament), consisting of a Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaților) and a Senate (Senatul). Neither in terms of functions nor choices are there major differences between the two chambers.

Political System of Romania

The national Assembly

The National Assembly has legislative and granting authority. Some issues are dealt with by the two chambers having a joint meeting, including the state budget. Other cases are dealt with separately in the two chambers, some types of cases first in the Chamber of Deputies, other types first in the Senate.

Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority in both chambers. If the chambers do not agree to such changes, a three-quarters majority is required in a joint meeting. A constitutional amendment is only valid if it is confirmed in a referendum. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how RO can stand for Romania.

Choice

Both chambers are elected for four years in the general and direct elections. The electoral scheme was first proportional choice in multi-person circles, but in 2008 was changed to majority choice in one-man circles, but with modifications in the direction of ratio choice according to rather complicated rules. A legislative change in 2015 reverted to ratio choices in multi-person circles. There is a 5 per cent threshold for parties, higher (up to 10 per cent) for electoral alliances.

Number of parliamentarians

The number of parliamentarians is initially determined by the population in the constituency (1 senator per 168,000, 1 deputy per 73,000). But the final number of parliamentarians after an election may be greater than these figures suggest from the country's total population. The electoral system also has rules on equalization mandates. There are 43 electoral districts (41 counties, the capital București, as well as a separate electoral district for Romanians living abroad).

After the 2016 election, the Senate has 136 members, the Chamber of Deputies 329 members; Of these, 17 are reserved for minority representatives. Recognized national minorities who cannot elect a deputy or senator under the usual rules are entitled to a deputy under certain conditions.

Administrative division

Romania is divided into 41 counties as well as the metropolitan area; in addition, the local units. There are elected bodies at county and municipal level.

Judiciary

The judiciary has been rescheduled after the communist era. The Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, has supervisory authority with the other judiciary. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President on the suggestion of a Supreme Magistrate's Council. A separate constitutional court must approve laws and international agreements. At the local level, there are county and local courts; the latter are usually first instance courts. The legislation is traditionally based on French examples. With Romania's membership in the EU from 2007, many laws have had to be adapted to EU rules.

Political parties in Romania

The major political parties in recent Romanian politics have often defined themselves in relation to traditional ideologies such as liberalism or social democracy, although the practical policy has often been rather pragmatic, which has also led to changing alliances between parties that should have been ideologically distant from each other..

The party pattern that developed after the fall of the Romanian Communist dictatorship in December 1989 was initially characterized by two main trends, historical parties from before the Communist era and successors of the Communist Party.

Historical parties from before the communist era

One was the attempts to revive historical parties that had been banned during communism (1945–1989). Of the historical parties that came back in 1990, only the National Liberal Party (Partidul Național Liberal, PNL) has succeeded in establishing itself as a party with influence over time. But even that party has been through divisions and has entered into various alliances, even with the Social Democratic Party, which it otherwise perceives as the main opposition.

The party that had the most to say of the historical parties in the 1990s, both in opposition and a time as a ruling party, was nevertheless the National Peasant Party (Partidul Național-Țărănesc, PNȚ), the party added "Christian-democratic" in the party name in 1990 In the interwar period, PNL and PNȚ had been the main parties and main competitors. After 2000, the party has declined sharply and for the most part has not been represented in parliament.

In the 1990s, PNL and PNȚ participated in the Democratic Alliance Democratic Convention (Convenția Democrată Română, CDR), founded in 1991 along with several other parties and some civil society organizations. The goal was to win power from Ion Iliescu and his ruling party. This was not successful in 1992, but in 1996 with the election of Emil Constantinescu as president. The alliance disintegrated from 2000.

Followers of the Communist Party

The second main trend in the party pattern after 1989 was the establishment of a large party dominated by people who had held positions in the communist regime, but without being in the forefront. The origin of the party can be found in the National Rescue Front (Frontul Salvării Naționale, FSN), with Ion Iliescu at the head, who took over power when Nicolae Ceauşescu was overthrown. The party has undergone both divisions, associations with smaller parties and name changes.

The most important split occurred in the spring of 1992, when the FSN was divided into the more reform-oriented Democratic Party (Partidul Democrat, PD, the name is from 1993), led by Petre Roman, and the Iliescu wing, which in 1993 took the name of the Social Democracy Party in Romania (PDSR), before joining the Social Democratic Party in 2001 (Partidul Social Democrat, PSD). In that year , the PSD merged with a small party that had resurfaced in 1990 as a continuation of the inter-war Social Democratic Party that was banned under the Communist regime and took over its name by the merger.

The Democratic Party (PD), which also defined itself as Social Democratic, for its part, merged in 2007 with an outbreak group from the liberal party PNL. The new party, the Democratic-Liberal Party (Partidul Democrat-Liberal, PDL) then joined in 2014 with PNL under the latter name. Thus, the most reform-oriented part of the old Communist Party successors had become part of the leading liberal, bourgeois party PNL.

Other trends in party development

Other trends in party development have been that many brand new parties have been formed. Some have become around a certain politician and have often had a short life, others have arisen through divisions of existing parties or mergers between them. Such parties have emerged both on the traditional right and left sides of politics. There have also been many individual transitions from one party to another.

Another basis for parties has been to represent specific ethnic groups or to base politics on further nationalist attitudes. The only ethnically based party of importance to national politics has been the Hungarian Democratic Union in Romania (Romániai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség, best known in Romania under the Romanian abbreviation UDMR), which has participated in a number of governments in coalition with both social democratic and bourgeois parties to best protect the interests of the Hungarian minority. Precisely the Hungarian party's role in changing coalitions has probably contributed to the fact that responsible parties have not seen themselves speculate on ethnic contradictions in order to increase their support. That the development could have taken a different direction, testifies to the clashes between Romanians and Hungarians in March 1990 in the mixed city of Târgu Mureș, as more people lost their lives. The outcome served as a warning against sharpening the ethnic contradictions that could emerge.

Nevertheless, several far-flung Romanian-nationalist parties have existed, but they have not decisively influenced Romanian politics. The largest support of such has been the Party of Greater Romania (Partidul România Mare, PRM). The party's strongest results came in 2000, when it received 20 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections, and the party's founder Corneliu Vadim Tudor ranked second in the first half of the presidential election with 28 percent of the vote. In the second round, he lost to Ion Iliescu. Later, the party has had less significance.

The country's president from 2014, Klaus Iohannis, belongs to the relatively few German minority and began his political career in the Democratic Forum for the Germans in Romania (Democratic Forum der Deutschen in Romania). He later joined the National Liberal Party (PNL) to gain a broader political base.

Declining turnout, corruption

In general, the belief that the political parties are able to represent people's views and interests has been diminished, as evidenced by the decline in voter turnout. At the first free parliamentary elections in 1990, turnout was 86 per cent. Then, it has gradually subsided. In the 1990s, it remained above 70 percent. From 2000 it has gone down further. At the last elections (from 2008 to 2016) it has been around 40 per cent. It reflects a growing distrust of politicians and a diminishing belief that it makes any difference who controls. There is a widespread feeling among people that many become politicians to enrich themselves. Political "kings" around the country (often referred to as "barons") are often seen as key individuals in the distribution of public positions, central government budget funds and business missions.

Corruption is a significant problem. Many politicians have been convicted, especially in the period after 2010. This also applies to prominent politicians, including prime ministers. Fighting corruption can be found in many electoral programs, even in parties that in practice do not seem so keen on that fight. On some occasions, civil society organizations have sought to influence political development more directly by facilitating election alliances, as in the 1992 and 1996 elections.

Out-of-parliamentary protests

One means of influence outside the parliamentary channels has been street demonstrations. In some cases, they have contributed to political changes, such as when the government of Boc resigned in February 2012 and the government of Ponta resigned in November 2015. Already in the winter and spring of 1990, students and others in Bucharest demonstrated for a clearer break with the communist past. In June, thousands of miners, with the help of government, ended up being transported to the city to "clean up" and receive official thanks from newly elected President Iliescu. The events were called "minerades" after the Romanian word for mining, mines. Such ways of responding to protests helped lower Romania's international prestige, after sympathy with the country had been strong following the bloody upheaval in December 1989.

Later, street demonstrations on several occasions have contributed to influencing political developments. One example is the large demonstrations that began in January 2012 after a new health law had opened for further privatization of the health care system, a development that a popular secretary of state and emergency preparedness organizer had warned against. President Băsescu, on live television, asked the Secretary of State to step down, which he did. The large street protests that followed in many cities, and which were also quickly linked to other issues, led both to the withdrawal of the law and the government of Boc resigned. At the parliamentary elections later that year, the coalition of the two largest opposition parties at that time, the Social Democrats and the national liberals, prevailed.

Another example of street protests has led to political changes, dating from November 2015. After a large number of youths were killed in a fire in a club room in București, questions were raised about fire safety and public approvals of construction workers. Major street protests accused the political system of a culture of corruption. Prime Minister Ponta, who was very dissatisfied in advance, resigned and was followed by a government that did not run out of political parties, but was composed of professionals ("technocrats") and was to run for the next parliamentary elections in the fall of 2016.

Other major protests have also influenced politics, but without governments stepping down or completely changing the policy. This is true of the many demonstrations in 2017 and 2018, which have been particularly aimed at the culture of corruption. Concrete protest points have been proposed legislative amendments that the opposition has intended will put the fight against corruption back and make it easier to get amnesty for those convicted.

List of princes, kings and presidents of Romania from 1859 to the present.

Heads of state

The United Principals of Moldova and Valakia (1859-1866)
1859-1866 Alexandru Ioan Cuza
Principality (1862–1881)
1862-1866 Alexandru Ioan Cuza
1866-1881 Carol 1
Kingdoms (1881–1947)
1881-1914 Carol 1
1914-1927 Ferdinand 1
1927-1930 Michael 1 (Mihai) (regency)
1930-1940 Carol 2
1940-1947 Michael 1 (Mihai)
People's Republic (1947–1989)
1947-1952 Constantin Ion Parhon
1952-1958 Petru Groza
1958-1961 Ion Gheorghe Maurer
1961-1965 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
1965-1967 Chivu Stoica
1967-1989 Nicolae Ceauşescu
Republic (1989–)
1989-1996 Ion Iliescu
1996-2000 Emil Constantinescu
2004-2014 Traian Băsescu
2014- Klaus Iohannis

Romania is a republic. The head of state is the president, who is elected by direct election every five years. The government is headed by a prime minister.

List of prime ministers in Romania

Year Prime minister
1944 Constantin Sănătescu
1944-1945 Nicolae Rădescu
1945-1952 Petru Groza
1952-1955 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
1955-1961 Chivu Stoica
1961-1974 Ion Gheorghe Maurer
1974-1979 Manea Mănescu
1979-1982 Ilie Verdeţ
1982-1989 Constantin Dăscălescu
1989-1991 Petre Roman
1991-1992 Theodor Stolojan
1992-1996 Nicolae Văcăroiu
1996-1998 Victor Ciorbea
1998-1999 Radu Vasile
1999-2000 Mugur Isărescu
2000-2004 Adrian Năstase
2004-2008 Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu
2008-2012 Emil Boc
2012 Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu
2012-2015 Victor Ponta
2015-2017 Dacian Cioloş
2017 Sorin Grindeanu
2017-2018 Mihai Tudose
2018-2019 Viorică Dăncilă
2019- Ludovic Orban

For the period 1948–1989, the list applies to chairmen of the Council of Ministers.

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