The constitution of 1991 is the model of the
French constitution. This means, among other things,
that Romania is a republic whose president has great
powers. Extensive amendments were made following a
referendum in 2003 to adapt the constitution to EU
legislation prior to the country's entry into the Union
The president is the country's head of state and has
the executive power. They are elected directly by the
people and can sit for a maximum of two five-year
mandate periods. The president appoints a government
leader, who in turn appoints other ministers.
Total population and chart of Romania for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The head of state has the right to dismiss the
government and dissolve Parliament (the National
Assembly). Parliament may, in turn, propose
that the President be dismissed if he is in breach of
the Constitution, but the decision must be approved in a
referendum. The government must be approved by
Parliament in a vote of confidence.
The National Legislative Assembly has two chambers:
the Chamber of Deputies and the
Senate. The number of members varies between
the terms of office as decided by the Election
Commission. After the 2016 election, the Chamber of
Deputies had 329 members and the Senate 136. A number of
seats in the Chamber of Deputies (currently 18) are
reserved for minorities not represented by a party in
Laws are passed by both chambers. With the exception
of the 2008 election, when the candidates also ran in
one-man constituencies, a system of proportional
representation according to party lists is used. A party
must get at least five percent of the vote, or eight
percent for an election alliance, to enter the National
Assembly. Parliamentary elections are held every four
years and the voting age is 18 years.
In 2013, the law was amended so that a referendum is
valid if at least 30 percent of the eligible voters
participated. Previously, the limit was 50 percent.
Administratively, the country is divided into 41
districts (Judete) plus the capital
Bucharest. Within the districts, local government is
exercised in hundreds of cities and thousands of rural
municipalities. At all administrative levels,
representatives are elected in general elections for a
four-year term. The Bucharest government appoints a
prefect in each district to represent the central
The Romanian judiciary has four bodies: local
district courts, regional courts, appellate courts and
the Supreme Court (HD), which oversees the work of the
other courts and is the final court of appeal. There is
also a Constitutional Court and Military Courts.
There are a large number of political parties in
Romania, but none of them have been large enough to get
their own majority in the National Assembly. Instead,
Romania is ruled by coalition governments. Personal
contradictions within the parties have often led to
their being split, transformed or merged. Many parties
are supported, also financially, by a group of
businessmen who became wealthy during the 1990s. These
business people do not seldom try to use their political
influence for personal gain.
Between the major parties, there has basically been a
consensus on overall political issues such as membership
of the NATO and EU defense alliance and the adaptation
to market economy.
The largest in the 2016 election was the
Social Democratic Party (Partidul Social
Democrat, PSD). Its core is made up of
former communists and the strongest voter support is
found among older Romanians and in rural industrial
areas. During the 1990s, the party was led for a long
time by Ion Iliescu, until 1989, Communist dictator
Nicolae Ceauşescu's co-workers. From 2000, the PSD was
steered in a more reform-friendly direction and is
referred to as a center-left party.
Second largest was the Liberal Conservative
National Liberal Party (Partidul
National Liberal Party, PNL),
which has been a member of a number of coalition
governments since 1989. PNL was originally founded in
1875 but was dissolved by the Communist regime in 1947.
PNL was re-formed in 1990.
The third largest party became the Union Save
Romania (Uniunea Salvați Romānia, USR).
It was formed as late as 2015 and describes itself as
activist-based and "against the system". The USR has its
roots in an activist movement in Bucharest that worked
against corruption and property speculation, mainly in
Hungarian Democratic Union in Romania
(Uniunea Democrată Maghiară din Romānia, UDMR),
founded in 1990, is the leading political force of the
country's Hungarian minority and has been a member of
several governments since 1996. A falang that wants
increased autonomy for Hungarians broke out of the party
in 2003 UDMR came fourth in the 2016 election.
In 2015, the Alliance of Liberals and
Democrats (Alianța Liberalilor și Democraților,
Alde) was formed through a merger of
the Liberal Reformist Party (Partidul
Liberal Reformer, PLR) and the
Conservative Party (Partidul Conservator,
PC). PC wanted to promote social
conservatives and national values, but was in practice
often allied with PSD. Alde became the fifth largest
party and, together with PSD, is part of the government
that was formed in early 2017.
The sixth and final party to enter the National
Assembly 2016 was the People's Movement
Party (Partidul Mişcarea Populară, PMP),
which is a center-right party, formed in 2013.
In February 2018, the former PSD politician and also
head of government Victor Ponta formed a new center-left
party for Romania (Pro Romānia). The
party attracted MPs from both PSD and Alde, which led to
the coalition government losing its majority in
parliament at the end of 2018.
At the same time, a new pro-European Center Party was
formed - the Party for Freedom, Unity and
Solidarity (Partidul Libertății, Unității și
Solidarității, PLUS). The party voted in the
European Parliament elections in coalition with the USR
(see above). The coalition called the Alliance
2020 came in third place in the election, which
became a major setback for the ruling PSD. Pontas For
Romania also ran in the EU elections and came in fourth
place (read more about the EU elections in the
Protests against the savings
New popular protests erupt when the cuts in public sector wages begin to be
implemented at the same time as the increased VAT hits consumers. The Social
Democratic opposition accuses the government of waging war against the public.
France expels Roma
France expels hundreds of Roma back to Romania. President Băsescu wants an
integration plan for Europe's Roma, but France demands that the EU force Romania
to stop the emigration of Roma to other EU countries. According to Amnesty
International, 75 percent of Romania's around 2.2 million Roma are poor as a
result of discrimination.
Severe injuries when the Danube floods
Floods along the Danube River are forcing over 16,000 people to leave their
homes, causing material damage for around a billion euros.
Reduced pensions will fail
Social Democratic opposition leader Victor Ponta appeals to the cuts in the
savings package (see May 2010) to the Constitutional Court,
which rejects pension cuts but provides green light for lowered public wages. To
secure continued loan payments from the IMF, the government raises VAT from 19
percent to 24 percent.
Năstase is charged with corruption
Former Prime Minister Adrian Năstase is charged with corruption after a
multi-year criminal investigation. He is accused of taking bribes and violating
customs regulations when importing, among other things, building products from
Unpopular savings package
The government presents a savings package, which means that public salaries
are reduced by 25 percent and pensions and unemployment benefits by 15 percent.
The average income in Romania equals SEK 3,400 a month and the pension is
equivalent to SEK 1,800. Tens of thousands of salaried employees and pensioners
demand the resignation of the government, but the finance minister defends the
savings package by saying that government spending must be cut quickly if the
country is not forced to take out new loans.