Politics

Presidents Of Romania Since 1989

A look at the Heads of State of Romania since the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu's socialist republic.

The office of President of Romania was created in 1974 when the Romanian constitution was changed via amendments to upgrade the position of President of the State Council to its own full-fledged executive post as the President of the Republic of Romania. This was done during the reign of Nicolae Ceaușescu (1918-1989), who would take the title as President of Romania. Nicolae Ceaușescu was the last communist leader and head of state of Romania from 1967 until he was overthrown in the Romanian Revolution of 1989. In the months following the Romanian Revolution, the modern form of the presidency took shape and Ion Iliescu rose to become the acting head of state of the transition government. In May 1990 Iliescu was elected president of the country and in November 1991 the Constitution of Romania was passed and then approved by popular referendum in December. Since 2004, following the modification of the constitution, the president is directly elected by the people in a two-round system. The president may serve two five years terms and cannot be a member of a political party during time as president.

The presidents of Romania

Ion Iliescu

Ion Iliescu was the acting head of state following the Romanian Revolution and in 1990 became the first democratically elected president of the country. Following the introduction of the Constitution of Romania which instituted term limits for presidents, another election was held in which Iliescu won. Following the end of his first four year term, Iliescu lost reelection and spent the next four years in the senate. In 2000 he ran for president again and won, serving as president for his second term until 2004. During his time as president Iliescu is noted for guiding the control following the Romanian Revolution, helping to introduce the constitution, handling of the violent Mineriad miner interventions in Bucharest and helping Romanian to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in his last stint as president. Some of the major controversies during his time as president was banning former Romanian King Michael from the country in 1992 after he drew large crowds in his return to the country. There were also controversy over several pardons he awarded in his last term as president as well as his awarding of the National Order to controversial ultra-nationalist politician Corneliu Vadim Tudor (1949-2015).

Emil Constantinescu

Emil Constantinescu was elected president in 1996 after his defeat of Ion Iliescu in the election, helping to redeem his presidential loss from four years earlier. Unfortunately, for Constantinescu he only served one term as president of Romania as his time in office was mired in the slow implementation of the privatization and modernization of Romanian. This was also due to an excessive bureaucracy that further slowed down the process and led to economic recession. In 1999 the first Mineriad since 1991 broke out, which lead to its leader Miron Cozma being arrested and a protest that led to 70 people being injured and left one dead. This caused a political crisis between the two major parties in Romania, which stalled the government even more. Finally, Constantinescu had to deal with a drought in 2000 that damaged the country and put the final nail in his presidency has he did not run for a second term. Despite all of these issues, Constantinescu's presidency is now seen as having reformed the banking system of the country, ending the Mineriads once and for all and bringing the first big foreign investments to the country.

Traian Băsescu

Traian Băsescu was the first president to serve under the update five year constitution, serving two terms that were filled with process, conservatory and impeachment. During his first term as president Băsescu fought political corruption, helped to resolve a hostage crisis in Iraq and tackling homelessness following horrible floods in early 2005. He was publicly condemned the former Communist regime of the country and tried to align Romania closer to the EU, America and Serbia. He was also responsible for helping Romania join the European Union (EU) in 2007. Băsescu's president did come with controversy as he was unsuccessfully impeached twice, in 2007 and then again during his second term in 2012. His first impeachment was over accusations of unconstitutional conduct for commit acts of political partisanship, infringing on the authority of other areas of government and manipulation public opinion. In 2012 he was accused of overstepping his power as president through illegal phone tapping and using intelligence services against his enemies.

Klaus Iohannis

Klaus Iohannis is the incumbent president of Romania, having won the 2014 election in a surprise victory over his rival. Iohannis ran his campaign on a platform of relaxed fiscal policy, independence for the judiciary and anti-corruption. He has held many consultation sessions with parliamentary parties to discuss and try and come to political agreements on various issues.

The duties of the president of Romania

The president of Romania has many different duties that he or she must perform. Following the legality of the presidential election being confirmed by the Constitutional Court of Romania, the Houses of Parliament then meet for a joint session where the person elected as president must take the oath of office as outlined in article 82 of the Romanian Constitution. The president of Romania is responsible for handling the internal affairs, foreign affairs and defense issues facing the country. The other duties of the president are to grant individual pardons, confer decorations or titles of honor, making appointments to certain public offices and making promotions to any superior military rank.

Presidents of Romania Since 1989Term(s) in Office
Ion Iliescu
1989-1996; 2000-2004
Emil Constantinescu
1996-2000
Traian Băsescu
2004-2014
Klaus Iohannis (Incumbent)2014-Present

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