Republic of the Philippines
Laguna State Polytechnic University
Social Science 3
(Politics and Governance with Constitution)
The Romania Government
Ram Chryztler P. Acero
Romania Government System
Politics of Romania take place in a framework of a semi-presidential parliamentary
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. Romania has 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
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.
Flag of Romania
Coat of arms of Romania
Parliament of Romania
The Parliament of Romania (Romanian: ParlamentulRomâniei) is the national legislature of
Romania, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor), and the Senate (Senat).
Prior to the modification of the Constitution in 2003, the two houses had identical attributes. A
text of a law had to be approved by both houses. If the text differed, a special commission
(comisie de mediere) was formed by deputies and senators that "negotiated" between the two
houses the form of the future law. The report of this commission had to be approved in a joint
session of the Parliament. After the 2003 referendum, a law still has to be approved by both
houses, but each house has designated matters it gets to deliberate before the other, in capacity of
"deciding chamber" (Romanian: camerădecizională). If that first chamber adopts a law proposal
(relating to its competences), it is passed on to the other one, which can approve or reject. If it
makes amendments, the bill is sent back to the deciding chamber, the decision of which is final.
Government of Romania
The Government of Romania (Romanian: GuvernulRomâniei) forms one half of the country's
executive branch (the other half being the President). It is headed by the Prime-Minister, and
consists of the Ministries, various subordinated institutions and agencies, and the 42 Prefectures.
The seat of the Romanian Government is at Victoria Palace in Bucharest.
Elections in Romania
Romania elects on a national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The
president is elected for a five-year term by the people (after a change from four-year terms after
the 2004 election). The Romanian Parliament (ParlamentulRomâniei) has two chambers. The
Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputaţilor) has 346 members, elected for a four-year term by
proportional representation. The Senate (Senatul) has 143 members, elected for a four-year term
by mixed member proportional representation. Romania has a multi-party system, with
numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties
must work with each other to form coalition governments.
In 2007, for the first time, Romanians elected their representatives to the European Parliament.
The date for these elections was 25 November. See also European Parliament election, 2007.
The President is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two 5-year terms (4-year terms until
2004). S/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
chairperson of the Supreme Council of National Defense. According to the constitution, s/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. The
prime minister is head of government; executive power is exercised by the government.
The national legislature is a bicameral parliament (Romanian: Parliament), consisting of the
Chamber of Deputies (Camera Deputation) and the Senate (Senat). Members are elected for 4year terms by universal suffrage under party list proportional representation electoral systems.
Starting last election (November 2008) members are elected using a mixed member proportional
The number of senators and deputies has varied in each legislature, reflecting the variation in
population. As of 2008, there are 137 senatorial seats and 334 seats in the Chamber of Deputies;
of the 334 deputy seats, 18 are held by the ethnic minorities’ representatives that would not pass
the 5% electoral threshold that all the other parties and organizations must pass.
Political parties and elections
For other political parties see List of political parties in Romania. An overview on elections and
election results is included in Elections in Romania.
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).
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-ÎnaltaCurte de JustiţieşiCasaţie
(The High Court of Justice and Cassation). The Romanian judicial system is an inquisitorial
system, with a strong French influence.
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.
The CurteaConstituţională (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 is a court outside the judicial branch of
Government, and 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 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
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.
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 some of Romania's politicians remains a source of
Angry miners protesting near Victoria Palace, Bucharest (February 1990)
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
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 NicolaeVăcăroiu,
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.
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
Dobrogea. 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.
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 CorneliuVadim
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
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 postcommunist 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.
In November 2004, TraianBăsescu, at that time the leader of the Democratic Party (PD), won the
presidential election. 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
CălinPopescu-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
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
The Government's overriding objective has been accession of Romania to the European Union.
On 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 19 April 2007 the Romanian Parliament suspended President TraianBăsescu 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 which failed.
The 2013 protests against the Roș iaMontană Project turned into an anti-government social
The November 2008 parliamentary elections were a close call, with the Social Democrats (PSD)
winning about 33.9% of the vote, President TraianBasescu's centrist Liberal Democrats (PDL)
taking 32.34%, and the ruling National Liberals (PNL) getting a mere 18.6%. 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.
With the onset of the Great Recession, Romanian political scene has seen tensions between the
President and Premier, but also between the civilian population and the two personalities. These
tensions have escalated with a political crisis in 2012 and a new attempt to impeach President
TraianBăsescu. During the referendum, more than 7.4 million people (nearly 90%) voted for his
removal from presidency. However, the Constitutional Court of Romania invalidated the
referendum, because wasn't reached the threshold of 50% + 1. Previously, Băsescu labeled this
attempt as a "coup d'état" and asked the public to boycott it. All these events have been heavily
criticized by international political figures.
The legislative elections of 9 December 2012 were regarded by public as a chance to change
something in Romania and to oust the President TraianBăsescu. The Social Liberal Union
obtained a huge majority in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, with 60.07% and
58.61% of the votes respectively and in MP mandates, a record number of 395 seats. The new
prime-minister, Victor Ponta, quickly formed a new government. The failure to adopt reforms as
quickly as possible triggered a wave of national protests. Many people consider that the
government has not respected the promises of the 2012 electoral campaign. Two other projects
of national interest (shale drilling and Roș iaMontană mining project) unleashed massive
protests. Even if demonstrations had initially an ecological character, they turned into mass antigovernment protests.