Europe

Romania after the Dictatorship (since 1989)

The on 22./28. 12. 1989 formed Council of the FSN under Iliescu raised inter alia. the resettlement laws and announced free elections; at the same time the name of the state was changed (Republic of Romania; previously Socialist Republic of Romania). At the end of 1989 the traditional National Peasant Party was re-established (originally founded in 1926, banned in 1947; central personality C. Coposu), it joined with the Christian Democratic Party to form the National Peasant Party – Christian Democrats (PNTCD) and later developed into the main force of the Romanian Democratic Convention (CD or CDR); as a result, up to 150 parties emerged, including also a revived Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR). Mass protests and the resolution of the round table (FSN and opposition) on January 27th resulted in the replacement of the FSN Council on February 1, 1990 by the Provisional Council of National Unity, in which around 30 parties and movements were represented. In the first free elections on May 20, 1990, Iliescu was elected President of the Republic as a candidate of the FSN with 85.5% of the votes; the FSN became the strongest political group in parliament.

The adoption of a new constitution on November 21 and December 8, 1991 marked the separation from the totalitarian regime, but politics and economy continued to be monopolized by the former communist cadre elite and the opposition was suppressed (including the Citizens’ Alliance, »Society of Timişoara«, PNTCD; from October 1991 in the alliance »Democratic Convention«, CDR / RDK, merged). Bloody arguments v. a. in Transylvania between Romanians and Romania-Hungary (March 1990), clashes between anti-communist demonstrators on the one hand, security forces and brought in miners on the other (June 1990) as well as rapid changes of government (Prime Minister: 1990–91 Petre Roman [* 1946]; 1991–92 Theodor Stolojan [* 1943) ]) illustrated the problems in overcoming the difficult economic legacy and political (ideological, ethnic) contradictions. On April 7, 1992, the FSN split into the FDSN (around Iliescu) and the radically reform-oriented FSN (later the Social Democratic Union, USD, soon dominated by the Democratic Party, PD, around P. Roman [1996–99 Senate President, 1999 –2000 Foreign Minister]).

According to agooddir, the presidential and parliamentary elections on 27. 9./11. 10. In 1992, Iliescu and the FDSN won (renamed Social Democracy Party of Romania, PDSR, in 1993). The government under Nicolae Văcăroiu (* 1943; FDSN or PDSR; 1992-96), in parliament, on the support of the two right-wing groups (Party of National Unity of Romanians, PUNR, and Greater Romania Party, PRM) and the CP successor organization (Socialist Party der Arbeit, PSM), was faced with galloping inflation (peak: 1993). From April to summer 1995 there were strikes and mass demonstrations.

In the presidential elections on November 17, 1996, the CDR / RDK candidate E. Constantinescu prevailed in the second ballot; he initiated the first real democratic change of power after 1989. Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government made up of CDR / RDK, USD and UDMR was Victor Ciorbea (* 1954), succeeded in April 1998 by Radu Vasile (* 1942; PNTCD, within the CDR), at the end of 1999 by the previous central bank chief Mugur Isarescu (* 1949; again in a coalition of PNTCD, PNL, PD [USD] and UDMR; until the election at the end of 2000). All governments from 1996 onwards set themselves the goal of reducing the economic and political lag behind the other transition states (which emerged after the reforms were broken off in 1992), but were unsuccessful. On November 26th / 10th 12. 2000 Iliescu was re-elected president, on December 28, 2000 a minority government of the PDSR under A. Năstase was formed. In June 2001, the PDSR and PSDR merged to form the Social Democratic Party (PSD), after having stood together in the electoral alliance »Democratic Social Pole of Romania« (PDSR) in 2000.

In the parliamentary elections on November 28, 2004, the ruling PSD was able to assert itself as the strongest force, but still had to take the path to the opposition, since after the simultaneous presidential election (runoff election on December 12, 2004) the opposition leader T. Băsescu (PD) was able to beat the incumbent Prime Minister Năstase and at the end of 2004 commissioned the executive chairman of the PNL, C. Popescu-Tăriceanu (* 1952), to form a coalition government. The Popescu-Tăriceanu government lost its parliamentary majority in December 2006. The Romanian parliament suspended Băsescu for alleged violations of the constitutionas President in April 2007; however, the impeachment was clearly rejected in a referendum.

After the 2008 elections, the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic Liberal Party initially formed a grand coalition led by E. Boc (PDL). In 2009, the country received an emergency loan of € 20 billion from the World Bank, the EU and the IMF to combat the effects of the global financial and economic crisis. After disputes within the coalition in the run-up to the presidential elections, the Social Democrats withdrew from the government in October 2009. E. Boc formed a minority cabinet that was overthrown by a vote of no confidence that same month. In the runoff election for president in December 2009, Băsescu was able to stand upenforce with a narrow majority. The Social Democrats challenged the result before the Constitutional Court. This confirmed the victory of the incumbent Băsescu. Following this decision, E. Boc formed a new government made up of PDL, UDMR and politicians without a party.

The austerity measures implemented in return for international credit assistance to contain the budget deficit led to strikes and protest demonstrations in 2010. Against the background of these events, there was a major reshuffle of the cabinet in September 2010. Nevertheless, the domestic political situation remained tense. Due to its austerity and reform measures, the governing coalition continued to lose approval. The opposition parties PSD, PNL and PC, which formed the Alliance Social – Liberal Union (USL) in 2011, called for early parliamentary elections. After renewed mass protests in January 2012, Prime Minister Boc announced his resignation on February 6, 2012. On February 9, 2012, Parliament elected M. R. Ungureanu, the previous head of the foreign intelligence service, as the new head of government. Following domestic political disputes over austerity measures, the parliament withdrew its confidence in his cabinet on April 27, 2012. In May 2012 the social democrat V. Ponta formed a center-left coalition from the parties of the USL alliance.

A conflict over the foreign policy powers of the president and prime minister as well as a plagiarism affair in connection with Ponta’s dissertation sparked a power struggle between Băsescu and the government. The cabinet prepared for the removal of Băsescu with numerous emergency and urgent ordinances. The presidents of the two chambers of parliament and the ombudsman were exchanged in order to fill key positions in the institutional structure with their own followers. In addition, the government curtailed the powers of the Constitutional Court. On July 6, 2012, Parliament initiated impeachment proceedings against Băsescu one that, as in 2007, was suspended from office. The referendum held on July 29, 2012 on the impeachment failed because, according to the electoral authority, the required minimum participation of 50% of eligible voters was not achieved. The deletion of the provision on the minimum participation made by the Ponta government was withdrawn after an intervention by the EU Commission. The Constitutional Court confirmed the failure of the referendum, so that Băsescu was able to return to the presidency on August 27, 2012. Former Prime Minister A. Năstase was sentenced to two years in prison on July 20, 2012 for abuse of office and illegal party financing.

Romania after the Dictatorship