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Romania

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Politics of Romania take place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Romania is the head of government and the President of Romania exercises the functions of head of state, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Romania's 1991 constitution, amended in 2003 proclaims Romania a democratic and social republic, deriving its sovereignty from the people. It also states that "human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values".

The constitution provides for a President, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes The High Court of Cassation and Justice. The right to vote is granted to all citizens over 18 years of age.

Contents

Executive branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President Traian Băsescu none 20 December 2004
Prime Minister Emil Boc PD-L 22 December 2008

The President is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two 5-year terms (4-year terms until 2004). He is head of state (charged with safeguarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities), supreme commander of the Armed Forces and chairman of the Supreme Council of National Defense. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the Prime Minister, following consultations with the party that holds the majority in the Parliament. If none of the parties hold an absolute majority, the president chooses the prime minister following consultations with all the parties represented in the parliament. The nominated prime minister chooses the other members of the government and then the government and its program must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.

Legislative branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President of the Senate Mircea Geoană PSD December 2008
President of the Chamber of Deputies Roberta Anastase PD-L December 2008

The national legislature is a bicameral parliament (Romanian: Parlament), consisting of the Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor) and the Senate (Senat). Members are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage under party list proportional representation electoral systems. Starting next election (November 2008) members are elected using a mixed member proportional representation.

The number of senators and deputies has varied in each legislature, reflecting the variation in population. As of 2004, there are 137 senatorial seats and 332 seats in the Chamber of Deputies; of the 332 deputy seats, 314 are elected, and 18 are reserved for ethnic minorities not otherwise represented in the parliament.

Political parties and elections

Romania has a multiparty system, which makes a majority government virtually impossible. The last eight years saw a settlement of the political scene, with merging of small parliamentary parties with larger ones. Despite that, the politics of Romania are still vivid and unpredictable. Currently there are five parliamentary parties (excluding the 18 ethnic minorities parties that have one representative each):

Party Name Party Name (Romanian Ideology Leader Notes
Democratic Liberal Party Partidul Democrat-Liberal (PD-L) liberal conservative, centre-right Emil Boc ruling party
Social Democratic Party Partidul Social Democrat (PSD) social democratic, center-left Victor Ponta part of the union PSD+PC, opposition party
National Liberal Party Partidul Naţional Liberal (PNL) liberal, centre-right Crin Antonescu opposition party
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România (UDMR) centrist, Hungarian minority party Béla Markó opposition party
Conservative Party Partidul Conservator (PC) conservative Daniela Popa part of the union PSD+PC, opposition party

The main non-parliamentary parties (around the 5% threshold) but woth local representatives are:

Party Name Party Name (Romanian Ideology Leader Notes
Greater Romania Party Partidul România Mare (PRM) Nationalism, Third position, Anti-Hungarian sentiment, National conservatism, Social conservatism Corneliu Vadim Tudor
New Generation Party – Christian Democratic Partidul Noua Generaţie - Creştin Democrat (PNG-CD, PNG) Romanian nationalism, Christian democracy George Becali part of the ruling coalition in the General Council of Bucharest
Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party Partidul Naţional Ţărănesc Creştin Democrat (PNŢ-CD) Christian democracy, Agrarianism Marian Miluţ/Radu Sârbu legal dispute regarding leadership

The last European Parliament election took place in June 2009.

e • d Summary of the 7 June 2009 European Parliament election results in Romania
Party Votes % of votes Seats 2007
Seating
Change
National Party/Independent Candidate EU Party EP Group
Social Democratic Party + Conservative Party Alliance (Alianţa Politică Partidul Social Democrat + Partidul Conservator) PES PASD 1,504,218 31.07% 11 10 +1
Democratic Liberal Party (Partidul Democrat Liberal) EPP EPP Group 1,438,000 29.71% 10 16[a] -6
National Liberal Party (Partidul Naţional Liberal) ELDR ALDE 702,974 14.52% 5 6 -1
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (Uniunea Democrată a Maghiarilor din România) EPP EPP Group 431,739 8.92% 3 2[b] +1
Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare) 419,094 8,65% 3 0 +3
Elena Băsescu[d] EPP Group 204,280 4.22% 1 0 +1
Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party (Partidul Naţional Ţărănesc Creştin Democrat) EPP 70,428 1.45%
Pavel Abraham 49,864 1.03%
Civic Force (Forţa Civică) 19,436 0.40%
Valid votes 4,840,032 96.12%
Null (invalid) votes 194,621 3.86%
Total: 18,197,316 expected voters (turnout 27.67%) 5,035,297 100 % 33 35[c] –2
Source: Biroul Electoral Central

Notes

  1. ^  In the 2007 Romanian EP byelection, the Democratic Party won 13 seats, and the Liberal Democratic Party 3 seats. In December 2007 - January 2008, PD changed its name into Democratic Liberal Party, and fused with PLD.
  2. ^  Only the seats that Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania won in the 2007 Romanian EP byelection are listed.
  3. ^  In the 2007 Romanian EP byelection László Tőkés ran as an independent, and, for the 2004-2009 EP legislature stood in the EG-EFA Group. For this election, László Tőkés runs on the UDMR list.
  4. ^  Elena Băsescu re-joined PD-L after the exit-poll results where published.


The last legislative election took place on November the 30th 2008.

e • d Summary of the 30 November 2008 Romanian legislative election results
Parties and alliances Chamber of Deputies Senate
Votes Seats +/– Votes % Seats % Votes Seats +/– Votes % Seats %
Democratic Liberal Party (Partidul Democrat-Liberal) 2,228,860 115 +48 32.36% 34.43% 2,312,358 51 +22 33.57% 37.23%
PSD+PC Alliance (Alianţa PSD+PC) 2,279,449 114

110
4

–10 33.09% 34.13% 2,352,968 49

48
1

–6 34.16% 35.77%
National Liberal Party (Partidul Naţional Liberal) 1,279,063 65 +5 18.57% 19.46% 1,291,029 28 +4 18.74% 20.44%
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România) 425,008 22 ±0 6.17% 6.59% 440,449 9 –1 6.39% 6.56%
Ethnic minorities parties 243,908 18 3.56% 5.39%
Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare) 217,595 0 –21 3.15% 0% 245,930 0 –13 3.57% 0%
New Generation Party (Partidul Noua Generaţie) 156,901 2.27% 174,519 2.53%
Green Ecologist Party (Partidul Verde Ecologist) 18,279 0.27% 48,119 0.70%
Popular and Social Protection Party (Partidul Popular şi al Protecţiei Sociale) 8,388 0.12% 10,805 0.16%
National Democratic Christian Party (Partidul Naţional Democrat Creştin) 316 0.00% 1,365 0.02%
Romanian Socialist Party (Partidul Socialist Român) 585 0.01% 445 0.02%
Party of the European Romania (Partidul României Europene) 87 0.00%
Total valid votes (turnout 39.2%) 6,858,439 334 +2 100.00% 100.00% 6,877,987 137 100.00% 100.00%
Source: Biroul Electoral Central

The last general local election took place on June 1, 2008, with a run-off for the office of mayor on 15 June 2008.

e • d Summary of the 1 June 2008 and 15 june 2008 Romanian local election results
Party County Councils
Presidents
Mayors Local Councils
seats (CL)
County Council
seats (CJ)
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Social Democratic Party
(Partidul Social Democrat)
2,234,465 28.06 17 2,717,490 30.77 1,138 2,268,271 26.67 12,137 2,337,102 27.97 452
Democratic Liberal Party
(Partidul Democrat Liberal)
2,243,144 28.17 14 2,964,948 33.58 908 2,356,584 27.70 11,129 2,416,014 28.92 458
National Liberal Party
(Partidul Naţional Liberal)
1,537,840 18.08 5 1,721,834 19.50 706 1,576,214 19.80 8,529 1,521,191 18.20 297
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania
(Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din România)
419,028 5.26 4 378,413 4.28 184 404,657 4.75 2,195 429,329 5.13 89
Conservative Party
(Partidul Conservator)
263,200 3.30 224,182 2.53 47 315,825 3.71 1,398 277,492 3.32 16
New Generation Party – Christian Democratic
(Partidul Noua Generaţie - Creştin Democrat)
227,744 2.86 159,739 1.80 35 300,661 3.53 1,203 248,757 2.97 9
Greater Romania Party
(Partidul România Mare)
252,956 3.17 124,492 1.41 19 314,731 3.70 1,090 313,666 3.75 15
Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party
(Partidul Naţional Ţărănesc Creştin Democrat)
78,752 0.98 53,908 0.61 11 102,137 1.20 326 88,066 1.05 2
other parties 703,437 10.12 1 502,202 5.52 131 865,707 8.94 2,260 722,134 8,69 55
Total: 18,313,440 expected voters (turnout 49,38%) 7,960,566 100 41 8,829,208 100 3,179 8,504,787 100 40,297 8,353,751 100 1,393
Source: Central Electoral Bureau

The last presidential election took place in November-December 2004

e • d Summary of the 29 November and 13 December 2004 Romanian Presidential election results
Candidates Nominating parties Votes % Votes
2nd round
%
Traian Băsescu PNL-PD 3,545,236 33.92% 5,126,794 51.23%
Adrian Năstase PSD+PUR 4,278,864 40.94% 4,881,520 48.77%
Corneliu Vadim Tudor PRM 1,313,714 12.57%
Markó Béla UDMR 533,446 5.10%
Gheorghe Ciuhandu PNŢCD 198,394 1.90%
George Becali PNG 184,560 1.77%
Petre Roman FD 140,702 1.35%
Gheorghe Dinu Independent 113,321 1.08%
Marian Petre Miluţ AP 43,378 0.42%
Ovidiu Tudorici URR 37,910 0.36%
Aurel Rădulescu APCD 35,455 0.34%
Alexandru Raj Tunaru PTD 27,225 0.26%

Judicial branch

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice Lidia Bărbulescu none October 2009
President of the Constitutional Court Ioan Vida none 2004
President of the Superior Council of Magistrates Virgil Andreieş none 2008

The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for a term of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law. The judicial power belongs to a hierarchical system of courts culminating with the supreme court-Înalta Curte de Justiţie şi Casaţie (The High Court of Justice and Cassation). The Romanian judicial system is an inquisitorial system, with a strong French influence.

The Curtea Constituţională (The Constitutional Court) judges issues of constitutionality when invoked in any judicial court and judges the compliance of laws or other state regulations to the Romanian Constitution, if these are brought before it. It follows the tradition of the French Constitutional Council in requiring 9 judges to hold a 9-year, non-renewable term. Following the 2003 revision of the Constitution, its decisions cannot be overturned by any majority of the Parliament.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice is the highest judicial authority. Its judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Superior Council of Magistrates.

The Ministry of Justice represents "the general interests of society" and defends the rule of law as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

Regional institutions

The Romanian political mechanism

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties (judeţe, singular judeţ) and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.

The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court.

Under new legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally. Central-government-appointed prefects formerly had significant authority over the budget; this is now limited to a review of expenditures to ascertain their constitutionality.

Developments

Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

A large number of present-day Romanian politicians (members of all parties, across the current political spectrum) are former members of the Romanian Communist Party. Since membership in the party was a key requirement for advancing to high-level positions before 1989, many people joined more out of a desire to get ahead than as a result of any deep political persuasion. Nevertheless, the Communist past of the majority of current Romanian politicians is a source of neverending controversy.

1990-1992

Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, most gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, to varying degrees. By far the largest party, the governing National Salvation Front (FSN) proposed slow, cautious economic reforms and a social safety net. In contrast, the main opposition parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNŢCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-Communist Party members. The Communist Party ceased to exist.

In the 1990 presidential and legislative elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in the opposition were the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.

After the FSN Prime Minister Petre Roman's brutal sacking just a few months before the 1992 general elections (following a descent on Bucharest in late 1991 by angry and dissatisfied coal miners), the FSN broke in two. President Iliescu's supporters formed a new party called the Democratic National Salvation Front (FDSN), while Roman's supporters kept the party's original title, FSN.

1992-1996

The 1992 local, legislative, and presidential elections revealed a political rift between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties – among which the PNŢCD and the PNL were the strongest – and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of the Parliament.

With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu, an economist, with parliamentary support from the nationalist Romanian National Unity Party (PUNR) and Greater Romania Party (PRM), as well as from the Socialist Workers' Party (PSM). In January 1994, the stability of the governing coalition became problematic when the PUNR threatened to withdraw its support unless given cabinet portfolios. After intensive negotiations, in August, two PUNR members received cabinet portfolios in the Văcăroiu government. In September, the incumbent justice minister also joined the PUNR. PRM and PSM left the coalition in October and December 1995, respectively.

1996-2000

The 1996 local elections showed a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and most of the larger cities in Transylvania and Dobruja. This trend continued in the legislative and presidential elections of the same year, in which the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas previously dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which had lost many voters in their traditional stronghold constituencies outside Transylvania. The electoral campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. This message resonated well with the voters, resulting in a victory for the CDR coalition and the election of Emil Constantinescu as president. In order to secure its electoral majority, the CDR also invited Petre Roman's Democratic Party (formerly FSN) and the UDMR (representing the Hungarian minority) into government. Over the following 4 years, Romania had three prime ministers. However, despite these leadership changes, and constant internal frictions, the governing parties managed to preserve their coalition.

2000-2004

The coalition lost in the first round of presidential elections in November 2000, as a result of popular dissatisfaction with infighting among coalition parties in the previous four years, as well as with economic hardship brought by structural reforms. In the second round of the presidential elections, Iliescu, running again as the Social Democratic Party (PSD) candidate, won by a wide margin against extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) candidate Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Iliescu appointed Adrian Năstase as Prime Minister. In parliament, the PSD government, like its predecessor, relied on the support of the UDMR, which did not join the Cabinet but negotiated annual packages of legislation and other measures in favor of Romania's ethnic Hungarians.

Năstase, in his four years as prime minister, continued the pro-Western foreign policy set by the previous government. The period was characterized by political stability unprecedented in post-communist Romania and consistent economic growth. Romania joined NATO in spring 2004 and signed an accession treaty to join the EU. Nonetheless, the PSD government was plagued by allegations of corruption, which would prove to be a significant factor in its defeat in local and national elections in 2004.

In September 2003, the Democratic Party (PD) and National Liberal Party ( PNL) formed an electoral alliance called the Justice and Truth (DA) Alliance in order to form a cohesive mainstream political opposition bloc against the then ruling PSD. The DA Alliance agreed to vote as a bloc in the Parliament and local councils and run common candidates in national and local elections, among other measures.

In October 2003, the country held a constitutional referendum in order to pass several constitutional amendments perceived as necessary for EU accession. The amendments included provisions to allow foreigners to own land in Romania; and to change the elected term of the President from four to five years.

2004-2008

The current president is Traian Băsescu, a former leader of the Democratic Party (PD). He fought a close election campaign, and was elected in December 2004 by a narrow margin. He appointed as prime minister National Liberal Party (PNL) leader Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, who headed a new government composed of the PNL, PD, UDMR, and the Conservative Party (formerly the Humanist Party). To secure a parliamentary majority, the coalition government also relied on the support of 18 seats in the Parliament reserved for ethnic minority representatives.

The Government's narrow majority in the Romanian Parliament led to calls by some for early elections. In July 2005, Prime Minister Tăriceanu expressed plans to resign to prompt new elections, but then recanted, noting the need for him and the cabinet to focus on relief efforts in response to summer floods. In its first year, the government was also tested by a successfully resolved hostage crisis involving three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq; and the appearance of avian influenza in several parts of the country, transmitted by wild birds migrating from Asia.

The Government's overriding objective has been accession of Romania to the European Union. On the 3 January 2007, Romania became the 26th member of the E.U. At the same time, the government maintained strong relations with the U.S., signing in December 2005 an agreement that would allow U.S. troops to train and be positioned at several Romanian military facilities. Băsescu and Tăriceanu also publicly committed to combat high-level corruption and implement broader reform to modernize sectors such as the judicial system and health care.

On April 19, 2007 the Romanian Parliament suspended President Traian Băsescu on charges of unconstitutional conduct. The suspension, passed in a vote of 322 parliamentarians to 108, opening the way for a national referendum on his impeachment [1] which failed.

2008-present

The November 2008 parliamentary elections were a close call, with the Social Democrats (PSD) winning about 33.9% of the vote, President Traian Basescu's centrist Liberal Democrats (PDL) taking 32.34%, and the ruling National Liberals (PNL) getting a mere 18.6%[2]. The Liberal Democrats and Social Democrats formed a coalition after the election. Former prime minister Theodor Stolojan eventually withdrew his candidacy for the premiership and President Basescu nominated Emil Boc, president of the Liberal Democrats as Prime Minister.

Participation in international organizations

Romania participates in the following international organisations:

ACCT, BIS, BSEC, CE, CEI, CPLP (associate member), EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EEA, EU, FAO, Francophonie. G-9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), Latin Union, MONUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, SECI, SEECP, SPSEE, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee

See also

References

External links

Further reading

  • John Hickman and Chris Little, "Seat/Vote Proportionality in Romanian and Spanish Parliamentary Elections" Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans Volume 2, Number 2, November 2000.
See also : Romania, European Union, List of political parties in Romania







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