Iliescu, Ion

Iliescu, Ion,

1930–, Romanian political leader, president of Romania (1990–96, 2000–2004). A member of the Communist party from 1953, he held a series of party posts before he was elected a member of the central committee in 1968. In 1971 he was demoted by President Nicolae CeauşescuCeauşescu, Nicolae
, 1918–89, Romanian statesman. The son of a peasant, he early became active in the Romanian Communist movement and was arrested as a revolutionary; he spent the late 1930s and early 40s in prison, where he became acquainted with the future first
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 and assigned to provincial and minor posts; in 1984 he also was removed from the central committee. In Dec., 1989, Ceauşescu was overthrown, and he and his wife were arrested and executed; Iliescu was installed (Feb., 1990) as provisional president. In the elections of May, 1990, he won the presidency and his National Salvation Front won a legislative majority. He was reelected under a new constitution in 1992 but lost in 1996. Elected again in 2000 (as head of the Social Democratic party), Iliescu led the country into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He also served as a senator (1996–2000, 2004–8). In 2016 he and other officials were indicted for crimes against humanity for the violent suppression of antigovernment demonstrations in 1990.