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Politics in Romania

President

Ion Iliescu26 Dec 198929 Nov 1996FSN
Emil Ion Constantinescu29 Nov 199620 Dec 2000PNT-CD
Ion Iliescu20 Dec 200020 Dec 2004PSD
Traian Dumitru Basescu20 Dec 200406 Dec 2009 PD
Traian Dumitru Basescu06 Dec 200920 Dec 2014 PD
Klaus Iohannis21 Dec 200920 Dec 2019 PNL

Prime minister

Petre Roman26 Dec 198901 Oct 1991FSN
Theodor Stolojan01 Oct 199104 Nov 1992Non-party
Election 1992
Nicolae Vacaroiu04 Nov 199212 Dec 1996PDSR
Election 1996
Victor Ciorbea12 Dec 199630 Mar 1998PNT-CD
Radu Vasile15 Apr 199814 Dec 1999PNT-CD
Constantin Mugur Isarescu22 Dec 199928 Dec 2000 Non-party
Election November 26, 2000
Adrian Nastase28 Dec 200021 Dec 2004PSD
Election November 28, 2004
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu29 Dec 200422 Dec 2008PNL
Election November 30, 2008
Emil Boc22 Dec 200806 Feb 2012PD-L
Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu09 Feb 201207 May 2012PNL
Election November 2012
Victor Ponta07 May 2012 22 Jun 2015PSD
Gabriel Oprea22 Jun 2015 09 Jul 2015UNPR
Victor Ponta09 Jul 201504 Nov 2015 PSD
Dacian Ciolos10 Nov 2015 04 Jan 2017UNPR
Election 11 December 2016
Sorin Grindeanu04 Jan 201721 Jun 2017NONE
Mihai Tudose21 Jun 201715 Jan 2018PSD
Mihai-Viorel Fifor16 Jan 201829 Jan 2018PSD
Vasilica Viorica Dancila15 Jan 2018PSD

Romania remains one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the EU. Authoritarian populism is an emerging force among voters across Europe and could be the defining political phenomenon of the next decade, according to a November 2016 survey conducted by YouGov. Romania topped the list with at least 82 percent of voters holding an authoritarian populist viewpoint. One of the biggest drivers for an increasing authoritarian populist viewpoint has to be the economic consequences of globalization. The concern is that mainstream political parties no longer offer a realistic prospect to people and their power, as well as influence, are declining.

In the 1980s, the use of a new academic term “authoritarian populism” (AP) became common among some political scientists when describing the politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. This term was based on the theory that they and their supporters shared a core set of attitudes: cynicism over human rights, anti-immigration, an anti-EU position in Britain, and favoring a strong emphasis on defence as part of wider foreign policy. Those with authoritarian populist views tend to be less well-educated and older.

Since the fall of communism in 1990, Romania has made decisive strides in developing a competitive multiparty system and an active civil society. In recognition of its strong performance, particularly in this decade, Romania achieved membership to the European Union in 2007. There remained the task of building political neutrality into Romania’s public administration and judiciary. Romania’s political system was initially characterized by three critical factors: a viable and durable system of governance, enshrining individual liberty and other fundamental political and human rights; political moderation, anchored in well-organized political parties and strong civil society, among which fundamental consensus on Romania’s geopolitical orientation exists; and interethnic cooperation that has prevented the type of devastating conflicts seen next door in the former Yugoslavia.

Romania’s political system was not sufficiently healthy to merit the confidence among citizens that theirs is a democracy in good working order. For many of the democracy ills on display — corruption, questionable judicial independence, the use of urgent procedure to pass significant legislation without substantive review — the political establishment is viewed as the primary culprit, as well as the beneficiary, since there appears little in the way of widespread public scrutiny that can make political misconduct too costly when it comes time to be re-elected.

No one has ever accused Romania of being a tidy place politically. This is a rough-and-tumble political environment. Ideally, power is shared between the President and the Prime Minister, with the latter being chosen by the former.

The Social Democratic Party [PSD] government, led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase [200-2004], forged a de facto governing coalition with the ethnic Hungarian UDMR, ushering in four years of relatively stable government. The PSD guided Romania toward greater macro-economic stability, although endemic corruption remained a major problem. In September 2003, the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL) and centrist Democratic Party (PD) formed an alliance at a national and local level, in anticipation of 2004 local and national elections. Romania then moved closer toward a political system dominated by two large political blocs.

Since then, the political scene has unravelled. The Romanian political system was designed in response to the Ceausescu dictatorship. Among other features, the powers of the President and Prime Minister are divided so as to precluded a return to dictatorship. But in recent years the result has been an unending struggle by each to over throw the other. This political churn is set against a background of pervasive corruption, and massive public protests against this corruption. The result is that



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