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Romania(rōmān`ēə, –yə) or
Rumania(ro͞o–), republic (2015 est. pop. 19,877,000), 91,699 sq mi (237,500 sq km), SE Europe. It borders on Hungary in the northwest, on Serbia in the southwest, on Bulgaria in the south, on the Black Sea in the southeast, on Moldova in the northeast, and on Ukraine in the north. BucharestBucharest
, Rom. Bucureşti, city (1990 pop. 2,394,284), capital and largest city of Romania, SE Romania, in Walachia, on the Dîmboviţa River, a tributary of the Danube. It is Romania's chief industrial and communications center.
..... Click the link for more information. is the capital and largest city.
Land and People
The Danube River, which forms part of the border with Serbia and almost all of the frontier with Bulgaria, traverses Romania in the southeast; its tributary, the Prut, constitutes most of the border with Moldova and Ukraine. The Carpathian Mts., of which the Transylvanian Alps are a part, cut through Romania in a wide arc from north to southwest; the Carpathians' highest peaks in Romania are Moldoveanu (8,343 ft/2,543 m) and Negoiu (8,317 ft/2,535 m). The country's climate is continental, with hot, dry summers and cold winters; severe droughts are common during the summer. Romania includes seven historic and geographic regions: WalachiaWalachia
, historic region (29,568 sq mi/76,581 sq km), S Romania. The Transylvanian Alps separate it in the NW from Transylvania and the Banat; the Danube separates it from Serbia in the west, Bulgaria in the south, and N Dobruja in the east; in the
..... Click the link for more information. , MoldaviaMoldavia
, historic Romanian province (c.14,700 sq mi/38,100 sq km), extending from the Carpathians in Romania east to the Dnieper River in Moldova. Land and Economy
Moldavia borders on Ukraine in the northeast and on Walachia in the south.
..... Click the link for more information. , TransylvaniaTransylvania
, Rom. Transilvania or Ardeal, Hung. Erdély, Ger. Siebenbürgen, historic region and province (21,292 sq mi/55,146 sq km), central Romania.
..... Click the link for more information. , and parts of BukovinaBukovina
, Rom. Bucovina, Ukr. Bukovyna, historic region of E Europe, in SW Ukraine and NE Romania. Traversed by the Carpathian Mts. and the upper Prut and Siretul rivers, it is heavily forested [Bukovina
..... Click the link for more information. , Crişana-MaramureşCrişana-Maramureş
, historic province, NW Romania, between Transylvania and Hungary. It covers approximately the present-day regions of Crişana (4,725 sq mi/12,238 sq km) and of Maramureş (4,053 sq mi/10,497 sq km).
..... Click the link for more information. , the DobrujaDobruja
, Rom. Dobrogea, Bulg. Dobrudza, historic region, c.9,000 sq mi (23,300 sq km), SE Europe, in SE Romania and NE Bulgaria, between the lower Danube River and the Black Sea.
..... Click the link for more information. , and the BanatBanat
, region extending across W Romania, NE Serbia, and S Hungary. The term banat originally referred to any of several frontier provinces of Hungary and Croatia that were ruled by bans (governors).
..... Click the link for more information. .
About 90% of the people are ethnically Romanian; Hungarians and Romani (Gypsies) make up the largest minorities. Most of the German minority emigrated after the Ceauşescu regime fell. Romanian is the official language, but Hungarian is also spoken. By far the largest religious body is the Romanian Orthodox Church. There are also Protestant and Roman Catholic minorities.
From 1948 until 1989, Romania had a Soviet-style command economy in which nearly all agricultural and industrial enterprises were state controlled. During those years, it built an economy based largely on heavy industry. Romania remains one of the poorer European countries. Agriculture employs about one third of the labor force but accounts for only 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The chief crops are wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, potatoes, and grapes. Sheep and poultry are raised. About 25% of the country is forested, and large quantities of timber are cut, especially in Transylvania.
Industry contributes about a third of the country's GDP and accounts for one third of the labor force. Auto assembly, mining and metallurgy, timber, food processing, and petroleum refining are important industrys; major manufactures include textiles, footwear, light machinery, construction materials, and chemicals. The country's main industrial centers are AradArad
, city (1990 pop. 203,198), W Romania, in the Banat, on the Mureşul River, near the Hungarian border. It is an important railroad junction and a leading regional commercial and industrial center.
..... Click the link for more information. , Bucharest, BraşovBraşov
, Hung. Brassó, Ger. Kronstadt, city (1990 pop. 364,307), central Romania, in Transylvania, at the foot of the Transylvanian Alps. The administrative center of the Braşov region, the city is a road and rail junction and a major industrial
..... Click the link for more information. , HunedoaraHunedoara
, Hung. Vajdahunyad, city (1990 pop. 89,873), W central Romania, in Transylvania. A major industrial center, it has extensive ironworks and steelworks. Iron ore and coal are mined nearby. The city is noted for its historic Hunyadi Castle, built in the 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. , IaşiIaşi
, city (1990 pop. 346,577), E Romania, in Moldavia, near the Republic of Moldova. Iaşi is the administrative and commercial center of a fertile agricultural region. Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and textiles are produced.
..... Click the link for more information. , OradeaOradea
, Hung. Nagyvárad, Ger. Grosswardein, city (1990 pop. 228,956), W Romania, in Crişana-Maramureş, near the Hungarian border. It is the marketing and shipping center for a livestock and agricultural region.
..... Click the link for more information. , ReşiţaReşiţa
, Hung. Resiczabánya, city (1990 pop. 110,519), W Romania, in the Banat, in the western foothills of the Transylvanian Alps. It is a railroad terminus and a leading Romanian mining and industrial center.
..... Click the link for more information. , and TimişoaraTimişoara
, Hung. Temesvár, city (1990 pop. 351,293), W Romania, in the Banat, on the Beja Canal. The chief city of the former Banat of Temesvar, it is a railroad hub and an industrial center, with engineering works, plants processing food and tobacco, and
..... Click the link for more information. . BrăilaBrăila
, city (1990 pop. 247,902), SE Romania, in Walachia, on the Danube River. The chief grain-shipping port of Romania, it is also a major industrial and commercial city. Machinery, metals, foodstuffs, and textiles are the principal products.
..... Click the link for more information. , GalaţiGalaţi
, city (1990 pop. 326,139), E Romania, on the lower Danube. It is a regional administrative and economic center and a major inland port, home of the Romanian Danube flotilla. Grain and timber are the chief exports.
..... Click the link for more information. , and GiurgiuGiurgiu
, city (1990 pop. 71,875), S Romania, in Walachia, on the Danube River opposite Ruse, Bulgaria, with which it is linked by a bridge. An important inland port, Giurgiu is connected by two oil pipelines with Ploieşti.
..... Click the link for more information. are the main Danubian ports; ConstanţaConstanţa
, city (1990 pop. 355,402), SE Romania, on the Black Sea. It is the administrative center of Dobruja and a major railroad junction and industrial city, but its chief importance derives from its role as Romania's main seaport.
..... Click the link for more information. is the chief Black Sea port. Galaţi and Constanţa are resort cities in Romania's growing tourism industry.
Textiles and clothing, metals, machinery and equipment, chemicals, and agricultural products are exported. Romania has an inadequate supply of mineral resources and must import raw materials and fuels, although historically it has been an important oil-producing center. The chief trading partners are Italy, Germany, France, and Turkey.
Romania is governed under the constitution of 1991 as revised. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president with the approval of the legislature; the cabinet is appointed by the prime minister. The bicameral legislature, or Parliament, consists of the 176-seat Senate and the 412-seat Chamber of Deputies. Legislators are popularly elected using a mix of direct and proportional representation and serve four-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 41 counties and one municipality (Bucharest) with special status.
History to 1881
Romania occupies, roughly, ancient DaciaDacia
, ancient name of the European region corresponding roughly to modern Romania (including Transylvania). It was inhabited before the Christian era by a people who were called Getae by the Greeks and were called Daci by the Romans.
..... Click the link for more information. , which was a Roman province in the 2d and 3d cent. A.D. The ethnic character of modern Romania seems to have been formed in the Roman period; Christianity was introduced at that time as well. After the Romans left the region, the area was overrun successively by the Goths, the Huns, the Avars, the Bulgars, and the Magyars.
After a period of Mongol rule (13th cent.), the history of the Romanian people became in essence that of the two Romanian principalities—Moldavia and Walachia—and of Transylvania, which for most of the time was a Hungarian dependency. The princes of Walachia (in 1417) and of Moldavia (mid-16th cent.) became vassals of the Ottoman Empire, but they retained considerable independence. Although the princes were despots and became involved in numerous wars, their rule was a period of prosperity as compared with the 18th and 19th cent. Many old cathedrals in the country still testify to the cultural activity of the time.
Michael the BraveMichael the Brave,
d. 1601, prince of Walachia (1593–1601), of Transylvania (1599–1600), and of Moldavia (1600). Michael was one of Romania's greatest medieval rulers, as well as a celebrated military commander.
..... Click the link for more information. of Walachia defied both the Ottoman sultan and the Holy Roman emperor and at the time of his death (1601) controlled Moldavia, Walachia, and Transylvania. However, Michael's empire soon fell apart. An ill-fated alliance (1711) of the princes of Moldavia and Walachia with Peter I of Russia led to Turkish domination of Romania. Until 1821 the Turkish sultans appointed governors, or hospodars, usually chosen from among the Phanariots (see under PhanarPhanar
, Greek quarter of Constantinople (now İstanbul). Under the Ottoman Empire, Phanar was the residence of the privileged Greek families, called Phanariots. They came into prominence in the late 17th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ), Greek residents of Constantinople. The governors and their subordinates reduced the Romanian people (except for a few great landlords, the boyars) to a group of nomadic shepherds and poor, enserfed peasants.
At the end of the 18th cent. Turkish control was seriously challenged by Russia and by Austria; at the same time, a strong nationalist movement was growing among the Romanians. The treaty of Kuchuk KainarjiKuchuk Kainarji, Treaty of
, 1774, peace treaty signed at the end of the first of the Russo-Turkish Wars undertaken by Catherine II of Russia against Sultan Mustafa III of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).
..... Click the link for more information. (1774) gave Russia considerable influence over Moldavia and Walachia. When, in 1821, Alexander Ypsilanti raised the Greek banner of revolt in Moldavia, the Romanians (who had more grievances against the Greek Phanariots than against the Turks) helped the Turks to expel the Greeks. In 1822 the Turks agreed to appoint Romanians as governors of the principalities; after the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, during which Russian forces occupied Moldavia and Walachia, the governors were given life tenure. Although the two principalities technically remained within the Ottoman Empire, they actually became Russian protectorates.
Under Russian pressure, new constitutions giving extensive rights to the boyars were promulgated in Walachia (1831) and Moldavia (1832). At the same time, a renewed national and cultural revival was under way, and in 1848 the Romanians rose in rebellion against both foreign control and the power of the boyars. The uprising, secretly welcomed by the Turks, was suppressed, under the leadership of Russia, by joint Russo-Turkish military intervention. Russian troops did not evacuate Romania until 1854, during the Crimean War, when they were replaced by a neutral Austrian force. The Congress of Paris (1856) established Moldavia and Walachia as principalities under Turkish suzerainty and under the guarantee of the European powers, and it awarded S BessarabiaBessarabia
, historic region, c.17,600 sq mi (45,600 sq km), largely in Moldova and Ukraine. It is bounded by the Dniester River on the north and east, the Prut on the west, and the Danube and the Black Sea on the south.
..... Click the link for more information. to Moldavia.
The election (1859) of Alexander John CuzaCuza, Alexander John
, or Alexander John I,
1820–73, first prince of Romania (1859–66), b. Moldavia. An officer who participated in the 1848 revolution and in the political struggle for the union of the principalities, he was elected prince of both Moldavia
..... Click the link for more information. as prince of both Moldavia and Walachia prepared the way for the official union (1861–62) of the two principalities as Romania. Cuza freed (1864) the peasants from certain servile obligations and distributed some land (confiscated from religious orders) to them. However, he was despotic and corrupt and was deposed by a coup in 1866. Carol ICarol I,
1839–1914, prince (1866–81) and first king (1881–1914) of Romania, of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. He is also called Charles I. A Prussian officer, he was elected to succeed the deposed Alexander John Cuza as prince of Romania.
..... Click the link for more information. of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen as his successor. A moderately liberal constitution was adopted in 1866. In 1877, Romania joined Russia in its war on Turkey. At the Congress of Berlin (1878), Romania gained full independence but was obliged to restore S Bessarabia to Russia and to accept N Dobruja in its place. In 1881, Romania was proclaimed a kingdom.
The Kingdom to World War I
After becoming a kingdom, Romania continued to be torn by violence and turmoil, caused mainly by the government's failure to institute adequate land reform, by the corruption of government officials, and by frequent foreign interference. There was no real attempt to curb the anti-Semitic excesses through which the peasants, encouraged by demagogues, vented their feelings against the Jewish agents of the absentee Romanian landlords, the boyars. A major peasant revolt in 1907 was directed against both the Jews and the boyars. Romania remained neutral in the first (1912) of the Balkan WarsBalkan Wars,
1912–13, two short wars, fought for the possession of the European territories of the Ottoman Empire. The outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War for the possession of Tripoli (1911) encouraged the Balkan states to increase their territory at Turkish expense.
..... Click the link for more information. but entered the second war (1913), against Bulgaria, and gained S Dobruja.
Although Romania had adhered (1883) to the Triple Alliance, it proclaimed its neutrality when World War I broke out in 1914. In the same year FerdinandFerdinand,
1865–1927, king of Romania (1914–27), nephew of Carol I. The second son of the Prussian prince, Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, he was designated successor to the heirless Carol I in 1880.
..... Click the link for more information. succeeded Carol as king. Romanian irredentism in Transylvania helped to bring Romania into the Allied camp, and in 1916 Romania declared war on the Central Powers. Most of the country was overrun by Austro-German forces, and in Feb., 1918, by the Treaty of Bucharest, Romania consented to a harsh peace. On Nov. 9, 1918, Romania again entered the war on the Allied side, and the general armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, annulled the Treaty of Bucharest. Shortly thereafter, Romania annexed Bessarabia from Russia, Bukovina from Austria, and Transylvania and the Banat from Hungary.
Romanian armed intervention (1919) in Hungary defeated the Communist regime of Béla Kun and helped to put Admiral Horthy into power. Romania's acquisition of Bukovina, Transylvania, part of the Banat (the rest going to Yugoslavia [now in Serbia]), and Crişana-Maramureş (until then a part of Hungary) was confirmed by the treaties of Saint-Germain (1919) and Trianon (1920), but the USSR did not recognize Romania's seizure of Bessarabia. A series of agrarian laws beginning in 1917 did much to break up the large estates and to redistribute the land to the peasants. The large Magyar population as well as other minority groups were a constant source of friction.
The 1920s through World War II
Internal Romanian politics were undemocratic and unfair. Electoral laws were revised (1926) to enable the party in power to keep out opponents, and assassination was not unusual as a political instrument. Political conflict became acute after the death (1927) of Ferdinand, when the royal succession was thrown into confusion. Ferdinand's son, Carol, had renounced the succession and Carol's son MichaelMichael,
1921–2017, king of Romania (1927–30, 1940–47). His father, Prince Carol (later Carol II), renounced his right of succession in 1925, and young Michael ascended the throne under a regency on the death of Ferdinand.
..... Click the link for more information. became king, but in 1930 Carol returned, set his son aside, and was proclaimed king as Carol IICarol II,
1893–1953, king of Romania, son of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. While crown prince, he contracted a morganatic marriage with Zizi Labrino but divorced her to marry (1921) Princess Helen of Greece.
..... Click the link for more information. . The court party, led by the king and by Mme Magda LupescuLupescu, Magda
, 1896?–1977, wife of Carol II of Romania. Her given name was Elena. Carol renounced (1925) his succession to the throne for her, but after becoming king (1930) he installed her as his official mistress.
..... Click the link for more information. , was extremely unpopular, but its opponents were divided.
The Liberal party, headed first by John Bratianu (see under BratianuBratianu
, Romanian family. Ion Bratianu, 1821–91, was prominent in the Revolution of 1848 and helped to secure (1866) the election of Prince Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (Carol I of Romania) to the throne.
..... Click the link for more information. , family) and later by Ion Duca, was bitterly opposed by the Peasant party, led by Iuliu ManiuManiu, Iuliu
, 1873–1951, Romanian politician, head of the Romanian National Peasants' party. Born in Transylvania, he helped to organize the Romanian national movement there before and during World War I. In 1918 he headed the Romanian provisional government.
..... Click the link for more information. . A right wing of the Peasant party joined with other anti-Semitic groups in the National Christian party, which was linked with the terrorist Iron GuardIron Guard,
Romanian nationalistic, anti-Semitic, and antiparliamentary group, founded in 1924 by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. Originally named the Legion of the Archangel Michael, it was organized on military lines and operated through terrorism.
..... Click the link for more information. . There was a frequent turnover of cabinets, and the only figure of some permanence was Nicholas TitulescuTitulescu, Nicholas
, 1882?–1941, Romanian statesman. A professor of law at Bucharest Univ., he was finance minister (1917, 1920–21) and served as foreign minister from 1927 to 1928 and from 1932 to 1936.
..... Click the link for more information. , who was foreign minister for much of the period from 1927 to 1936, when the increasingly powerful Fascist groups forced him to resign. In 1938, Carol II assumed dictatorial powers and promulgated a corporative constitution, which was approved in a rigged plebiscite. Later in 1938, after CodreanuCodreanu, Corneliu Zelea
, 1899–1938, Romanian political leader and anti-Semitic terrorist. Active in the Romanian student movement against leftists and liberals, he founded (1927) and led the militant, fascist Iron Guard until his conviction for treason in 1938.
..... Click the link for more information. and 13 other leaders of the Iron Guard were shot "while trying to escape" from prison, Carol proclaimed the Front of National Renascence as the sole legal political party.
In foreign affairs, Romania entered the Little EntenteLittle Entente
, loose alliance formed in 1920–21 by Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Its specific purposes were the containment of Hungarian revisionism (of the terms of the World War I peace treaty) and the prevention of a restoration of the Hapsburgs.
..... Click the link for more information. (1921) and the Balkan EntenteBalkan Entente
, loose alliance formed in 1934 by Yugoslavia, Romania, Greece, and Turkey to safeguard their territorial integrity against Bulgarian revisionism. It thus was in harmony with the Little Entente (formed by Yugoslavia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia chiefly against
..... Click the link for more information. (1934) largely to protect itself against Hungarian and Bulgarian revisionism. After 1936 the country drew closer to the Axis powers. The country remained neutral at the outbreak (1939) of World War II, but in 1940 it became a neutral partner of the Axis. Romania was powerless (1940) to resist Soviet demands for Bessarabia and N Bukovina or to oppose Bulgarian and Hungarian demands, backed by Germany, for the S Dobruja, the Banat, Crişana-Maramureş, and part of Transylvania. The Iron Guard rose in rebellion against Carol's surrender of these territories. Carol was deposed (1940) and exiled, and Michael returned to the throne. The army gained increased influence and Ion Antonescu became dictator.
In June, 1941, Romania joined Germany in its attack on the Soviet Union. Romanian troops recovered Bessarabia and Bukovina and helped to take Odessa, but they suffered heavily at Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in late 1942 and early 1943. In Aug., 1944, two Soviet army groups entered Romania. Michael overthrew Antonescu's Fascist regime, surrendered to the USSR, and ordered Romanian troops to fight on the Allied side. During the war half of Romania's Jewish population of 750,000 was exterminated, while most of the remainder went to Israel after its independence (1948). The peace treaty between Romania and the Allies, signed at Paris in 1947, in essence confirmed the armistice terms of 1944. Romania recovered all its territories except Bessarabia, N Bukovina, and S Dobruja.
The Rise and Fall of Romanian Communism
Politically and economically, Romania became increasingly dependent on the Soviet Union. A Communist-led coalition government, headed by the nominally non-Communist Peter Groza, was set up in 1945. In Dec., 1947, Michael was forced to abdicate, and Romania was proclaimed a people's republic. The first constitution (1945) was superseded in 1952 by a constitution patterned more directly on the Soviet model. Nationalization of industry and natural resources was completed by a law of 1948, and there was also forced collectivization of agriculture. Control over the major industries, notably petroleum, was shared with the USSR after 1945, but an agreement in 1952 dissolved the joint companies and returned them to full Romanian control. In 1949, Romania joined the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), and in 1955 it became a charter member of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and also joined the United Nations.
For all but a year of the period from 1945 to 1965 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-DejGheorghiu-Dej, Gheorghe
, 1901–65, Romanian Communist leader, b. Moldavia. He joined the Communist party in 1930 and while in prison (1933–44) was elected (1936) to the central committee. Escaping in 1944, he became a leading figure in Romanian Communist politics.
..... Click the link for more information. was head of the Romanian Workers' (Communist) party; he was succeeded by Nicholae Ceauşescu as leader of the party, renamed the Romanian Communist party. Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceauşescu were both dictators who followed the Stalinist model of rapid industrialization and political repression. In 1965, Romania was officially termed a socialist republic, instead of a people's republic, to denote its alleged attainment of a higher level of Communism, and a new constitution was adopted.
Beginning in 1963, Romania's foreign policy became increasingly independent of that of the USSR. In early 1967, Romania established diplomatic relations with West Germany. It maintained friendly relations with Israel after the Arab-Israeli War of June, 1967, whereas the other East European Communist nations severed diplomatic ties. In 1968, Romania did not join in the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and in 1969, Ceauşescu and President Tito of Yugoslavia affirmed the sovereignty and equality of socialist nations.
During the 1970s, the emphasis on rapid industrialization continued at the expense of other areas, especially agriculture. Political repression remained severe, particularly toward the German and Magyar minorities. In 1981, a rising national debt, caused in part by massive investment in the petrochemical industry, led Ceauşescu to institute an austerity program that resulted in severe shortages of food, electricity, and consumer goods. In Dec., 1989, antigovernment violence broke out in Timişoara and spread to other cities. When army units joined the uprising, Ceauşescu fled, but he was captured, deposed, and executed along with his wife. A 2006 presidential commission report estimated that under Communist rule (1945–89) as many as 2 million people were killed or persecuted in Romania.
A provisional government was established, with Ion Iliescu, a former Communist party official, as president. In the elections of May, 1990, Iliescu won the presidency and his party, the National Salvation Front, obtained an overwhelming majority in the legislature. Iliescu was reelected in 1992, but was defeated by Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention party in 1996.
Throughout the 1990s and into the next decade the country's economy lagged, as it struggled to make the transition to a market-based economy. Price increases and food shortages led to civil unrest, and the closing of mines set off large-scale strikes and demonstrations by miners. Privatization of state-run industries proceeded cautiously, with citizens having shares in companies but little knowledge or information about their investments. Widespread corruption also was a problem. In Nov.–Dec., 2000, elections Iliescu again won the presidency, after a runoff against Corneliu V. Tudor, an ultranationalist.
In Oct., 2003, the country approved constitutional changes protecting the rights of ethnic minorities and property owners; the amendments were designed to win European Union approval for Romania's admission to that body, but continuing pervasive corruption remained a stumbling block. The country joined NATO in Mar., 2004. The Nov.–Dec., 2004, presidential election was won by the center-right opposition candidate, Traian Basescu of the Liberal Democratic party (PDL); Basescu defeated the first round leader, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, after a runoff. In Apr., 2005, Romania finally signed an accession treaty with the European Union; Romania became a member of the EU in 2007, but corruption and judicial reform remained significant EU concerns and delayed the nation's joining the EU's borderless Schengen Area into the 2010s. In Feb., 2006, Nastase, who had become parliament speaker, was charged with corruption; he accused the government of mounting a politically inspired prosecution. Nastase was acquitted in that case in Dec., 2011, but was convicted in a second corruption case in Jan., 2012, and of blackmail in a third case in Mar., 2012.
Disagreements between the outspoken, popular president and the center-right prime minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, of the National Liberal party (PNL), became increasing acrimonious in early 2007, after the president accused the prime minister of having attempted to influence a corruption investigation of a political ally. In April the left-wing opposition and Popescu-Tariceanu's allies in parliament voted to suspend the president for unconstitutional conduct, a dubious charge given that the constitutional court had ruled previously that the president had not violated the constitution, but the court also upheld the president's suspension. The suspension forced a referendum on impeaching the president, and in the May poll 74% of the voters opposed impeachment. The prime minister's government subsequently (June) survived a no-confidence vote.
In the Nov., 2008, parliamentary elections, the Social Democratic and Conservative parties (PSD-PC) won the most votes, but the PDL won the most seats. The two formed a coalition government, with PDL leader Emil Boc as prime minister. In Oct., 2009, however, the coalition collapsed after Boc dismissed the PSD interior minister; the resulting PDL minority government soon lost a no-confidence vote. The president nominated Lucian Croitoru, an economist, for prime minister, but a parliamentary majority rejected him, having proposed Klaus Iohannis, the mayor of Sibiu and a member of a small, ethnic German party.
Basescu was reelected by a narrow margin in Dec., 2009, defeating the PSD-PC's Mircea Geoana. Geoana, whom polls had predicted would win, accused Basescu of fraud and sought a revote; a court-ordered review of the invalidated votes increased Basescu's lead slightly. Basescu appointed Boc as prime minister of the PDL-led coalition government. In 2010 the government imposed a number of austerities, including public sector pay cuts and tax increases, as part of its efforts to reduce the deficit and secure loans from International Monetary Fund. In early 2012, several weeks of protest over the effects of those measures and over corruption and cronyism led Boc's government to resign in February. Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, the head of the foreign intelligence service, succeeded Boc as prime minister, heading the same PDL-led coalition, but the government lost a no-confidence vote in April.
In May, 2012, Victor PontaPonta, Victor
, 1972–, Romanian lawyer and politician, Ph.D. Univ. of Bucharest Law School, 2003. Ponta has taught at the Romanian-American Univ. of Bucharest (1996–98, 2002–10), written several books on the law, and served as a prosecutor (1995–2001) and
..... Click the link for more information. , the PSD leader, became prime minister of a three-party center-left coalition government. In July the president's opponents in parliament for a second time voted to suspend him on charges of unconstitutional behavior, forcing a referendum on removing him from office; Ponta's government also reduced the powers of the constitutional court. The moves prompted criticism from the European Union. The July referendum, which went decisively against Basescu, had less than a 50% turnout, and because of that the result was declared invalid by the constitutional court in August.
The PSD and its coalition allies won two thirds of the parliamentary seats in the Dec., 2012, election, and Ponta again became prime minister. The new government subsequently lowered the turnout threshold for a valid referendum to 30%. Efforts by the parliament during 2013 to protect lawmakers from criminal corruption investigations were criticized by the EU and others. In Feb., 2014, tensions within the ruling coalition led the Liberal party to withdraw, but the Hungarian Democratic Union (UDMR) entered into coalition with the PSD and a new government, with Ponta as prime minister, was formed in March.
Ponta subsequently ran for president, but lost to Klaus IohannisIohannis, Klaus Werner,
1959–, Romanian political leader, b. Sibiu, grad. Babeş-Bolyai Univ., 1983. An ethnic German and a physics teacher and public school official, he was elected mayor of Sibiu (2000–2012) as a member of the Democratic Forum of Germans in
..... Click the link for more information. , the mayor of Sibiu and leader of the center-right National Liberal party. PSD lost two of its coalition allies following the election, but the remaining parties nonetheless formed a solid majority. In 2015 Ponta was named in a criminal corruption investigation and charged with tax evasion and other crimes, and he stepped down as party leader. He did not resign as prime minister, however, till Nov., 2015, following anticorruption public protests in response to a deadly Bucharest nightclub fire; Ponta was later (2018) acquitted of the charges. Dacian CioloşCioloş, Dacian Julien,
1969–, Romanian agricultural engineer and political leader, Ph.D. Univ. of Montpellier, 2006. He served as Romania's minister of agriculture and rural development (2007–8) and the European Union's commissioner for agriculture
..... Click the link for more information. , a former agriculture minister and EU agriculture commissioner, was appointed prime minister and formed a technocratic government with the support of the PSD and Liberals.
In the Dec., 2016, parliamentary elections the PSD and their allies won majorities in both houses, but PSD party leader Liviu DragneaDragnea, Liviu Nicolae,
1962–, Romanian engineer and political leader, grad. Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, 1987. A member of the Democratic party (1996–2000) and then the Social Democratic party (PSD; 2000–), he became PSD president after Victor Ponta
..... Click the link for more information. was ineligible to serve as prime minister due to an election-fraud conviction. PSD member Sorin Grindeanu, a former communications minister, ultimately became prime minister, but Dragnea was regarded as the real power in the government. A government decree (Jan., 2017) that would have decriminalized some corruption convictions led to widespread protests and was reversed before it took effect. Grindeanu then lost the support of the PSD-led coalition, was ousted by a no-confidence vote in June, and replaced as prime minister by Mihai Tudose, a Dragnea ally and former economy minister.
In Jan., 2018, Tudose resigned after he lost the PSD's backing; the PSD's Viorica Dăncilă, a relatively inexperienced politician, succeeded him. In 2018 and 2019, the government continued to move to thwart corruption prosecutions through a range of legislation whose affects included decriminalizing some offenses and limiting permissible evidence, through forcing the dismissal of the chief anticorruption prosecutor and then charging her with corruption, and through other measures; many of the actions were criticized by the European Union, and some of the measures were nullified by the constitutional court. In June, 2018, Dragnea was convicted of abuse of power in a corruption case, and he was jailed after an unsuccessful appeal in May, 2019.
In Aug., 2019, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats quit the governing coalition, leaving the PSD with a minority government. Two months later, Dăncilă's government lost a no-confidence vote. In November, Ludovic Orban, of the National Liberal party, formed a minority center-right government. In the subsequent presidential election, Iohannis was reelected, easily defeating Dăncilă in a November runoff. Orban lost a no-confidence vote in Feb., 2020, due to proposed electoral changes, but then won a confidence vote in March amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
See R. W. Seton-Watson, A History of the Roumainians (1963); T. W. Riker, The Making of Roumania (1931, repr. 1971); V. Georgescu, Political Ideas and the Enlightenment in the Romanian Principalities, 1750–1831 (1972); E. K. Keefe et al., Area Handbook for Romania (1972); M. Shafir, Romania: Politics, Economics, and Society (1985); D. Turnock, The Romanian Economy in the Twentieth Century (1986); T. Gilberg, Nationalism and Communism in Romania (1990).
Official name: Romania
Capital city: Bucharest
Internet country code: .ro
Flag description: Three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; the national coat of arms that used to be centered in the yellow band has been removed
National anthem: “Des¸teapt ˘a-te Române!” (Awaken Thee, Romanian!)
Geographical description: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine
Total area: 91,699 sq. mi. (237,499 sq. km.)
Climate: Temperate; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog; sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms
Nationality: noun: Romanian(s); adjective: Romanian
Population: 22,276,056 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Romanian 89.5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%, Ukrainian 0.3%, German 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, Turkish 0.2%, other 0.4%
Languages spoken: Romanian (official) 91%, Hungarian 6.7%, Romany 1.1%, other 1.2%
Religions: Eastern Orthodox (including all sub-denominations) 86.8%, Protestant (various denominations including Reformate and Pentecostal) 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, other (mostly Muslim) and unspecified 0.9%, none 0.1%
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