History of Romania since 1989

History of Romania since 1989

1989 revolution

1989 marked the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. A mid-December protest in Timişoara against the eviction of a Hungarian minister (László Tőkés) grew into a country-wide protest against the Ceauşescu régime, sweeping the dictator from power.

On December 22, President Nicolae Ceauşescu had his apparatus gather a mass-meeting in Bucharest downtown in an attempt to rally popular support for his regime and publicly condemn the mass protests of Timişoara. This meeting mirrored the mass-meeting gathered in 1968 when Ceauşescu had spoken out against the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Treaty countries. This time however, the people turned angry and riot broke out. During the events of the following week, marked by confusion and street fighting, it is estimated that 1,051 people lost their lives. To this day, the real number of casualties are unknown and so are the identities of the individuals responsible for them. Those responsible for the casualties are still called "the terrorists". Ceauşescu was arrested in Târgovişte. After a summary trial by a kangaroo court, he and his wife were executed on December 25.

During the Romanian Revolution of 1989, power was taken by a group called the National Salvation Front (FSN), which grouped a large number of former members of the Communist Party and Securitate (the Romanian equivalent of the KGB) but also a small number of dissidents and other participants in the uprising who genuinely thought the FSN to be an anti-Communist movement. The FSN quickly assumed the mission of restoring civil order and immediately took seemingly democratic measures. The Communist Party was thus outlawed, and Ceauşescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on abortion and contraception, were rolled back.

1990 - 1996

Despite the efforts of the State media (entirely controlled by the FSN) to hide the pro-Communist and pro-regime history of FSN members, public opinion regarded it as being a new name of the Romanian Communist Party. This triggered a series of anti-communist demonstrations in Bucharest and the resurrection of traditional parties that were once the main parties in Romania before being outlawed. These traditional parties are the National Christian Democrat Peasant's Party (PNŢCD), the revived form of which is today's Christian-Democratic National Peasants' Party; the National Liberal Party (PNL) revived under the same name; and (in 1992) the Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSDR), the revived form of which is today's Social Democratic Party, all of whom were led by non-communists and former political prisoners of the Communist regime. These parties rallied a great amount of public support in a very short time despite the FSN's directed efforts to discredit their leaders by spreading what are now known to be lies and false rumors through the State controlled media. Their rapidly rising popularity raised concern among FSN leaders who feared losing power and thus having to answer for the crimes committed during the Ceauşescu regime. Ion Iliescu, leader of FSN, called the miners in to Bucharest several times and directed them to repress the opposition demonstrations. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-zD-fUsXa8 YouTube - Piata Universitatii 13-15 iunie [3 ] ] [http://www.onlinenews.ro/detaliere.php?id=257175] [ [http://www.editie.ro/mod.php?mod=stiri&idstire=27710 Editie Speciala de Oltenia - un ziar european ] ] [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20040309221137/http://www.gardianul.ro/print.php?a=reportaj2004012901.xml Gardianul: La mitingul partidelor istorice, FSN a raspuns cu o manifestatie stalinista ] ] [http://www.edrc.ro/docs/docs/cartea-alba05.pdf] [ [http://www.edrc.ro/docs/docs/ruleta.pdf Andreescu.p65 ] ] [ [http://www.ziua.ro/prt.php?id=184871&data=2005-09-17&ziua=87a88c6955e5b8f2f093d438a8a267fe ZIUA pe Internet ] ] ; these incidents are remembered as the Mineriads.

On February 28, less than a month after the Mineriad, another anti-Communist demonstration in Bucharest ended again with the use of the same brutal force of the coal miners. This time, despite the demonstrators' pleas for non-violence, several people started throwing stones at the Government building. Riot police and army forces intervened to restore order, and on the same night, 4,000 miners rushed into Bucharest. This incident is known as the Mineriad of February 1990. There are suspicions ["Mostenitorii Securitatii" Marius Oprea] that these events were manipulated by the new Secret Services, composed of the remnants of the Securitate which had conserved its infrastructure and its network of agents among the people.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Iliescu won with almost 90% of the popular vote and thus became the first elected President of Romania. The FSN also secured more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament. Petre Roman, a professor at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and a person with strong family roots in the Communist Party, was named Prime Minister. The new government, largely composed of former Communist officials and former members of the Securitate, promised the implementation of some free market reforms.

The results of these elections prompted further anti-Communist demonstrations, called Golaniad by FSN leaders, which ended in yet another brutal Mineriad. It began when a sit-in demonstration against the FSN in University Square grew into a continuing mass demonstration. Protesters were contesting the results of the recently held elections and accusing the FSN of being made up of former Communists and Securitate members. These demonstrations (which had been peaceful) degenerated when the police attacked hunger strikers and the Architecture Institute where students had taken refuge. Events of 13 June led to a police bus being incinerated. This incident is believed to have been fabricated by former Securitate members in order to justify the use of force against protesters. The implication of secret service in these events was later acknowledged by the Serviciul Român de Informaţii (SRI, Romanian Intelligence Service) in an open letter to the Romanian parliament sent by SRI captain Adrian Ionescu. At Iliescu's request [http://www.avmr.ro/media/Mineriada_Iliescu_1-4.avi] , thousands of miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest under the command of their trade union leader Miron Cozma. Using wooden clubs, axes and other make-shift weapons, the miners violently cleared University Square, savagely beating anyone who happened to cross their way in the process. After accomplishing this initial task, they shifted their attention and destructive energy towards the headquarters of the opposition parties as well as the private residences of the opposition leaders. President Iliescu publicly thanked the miners for their help with restoring the order in Bucharest. This episode is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.

In December 1991, a new constitution was drafted and subsequently adopted, after a popular referendum. March 1992 marked the split of the FSN into two groups: the Democratic National Salvation Front (FDSN), led by Ion Iliescu and the Democrat Party (PD), led by Petre Roman. Iliescu won the presidential elections in September 1992 by a clear margin, and his FDSN won the general elections held at the same time. With parliamentary support from the nationalist National Unity Party of Romanians (PUNR), Greater Romania Party (PRM), and the ex-communist Socialist Workers' Party (PSM), a new government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu, an economist and former Communist Party official. The FDSN changed its name to Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Văcăroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties. This coalition dissolved before the November 1996 elections. This coincided with the bankruptcy of the Caritas pyramid scheme, a major scandal at the time in Romania.

1996 - 2000

Emil Constantinescu of the Democrat Convention of Romania (CDR) won the second round of the 1996 presidential elections by a comfortable margin of 9% and thus replaced Iliescu as chief of state. (see: Romanian election, 1996)

PDSR won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but was unable to form a viable coalition. Constituent parties of the CDR joined the Democratic Party (PD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to form a centrist coalition government, holding 60% of the seats in Parliament. This coalition of sorts frequently struggled for survival, as decisions were often delayed by long periods of negotiations among the involved parties. Nevertheless, this coalition was able to implement several critical reforms. The new coalition government, under prime minister Victor Ciorbea remained in office until March 1998, when Radu Vasile (PNTCD) took over as prime minister. The former governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isărescu, eventually replaced Radu Vasile as head of the government.

2000 - 2004

Iliescu's Social Democratic Party, now renamed the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), returned to power in the 2000 elections, and Iliescu won a third term as the country's president. Adrian Năstase became the Prime Minister of the newly formed government. His rule was shaken by recurring allegations of corruption.

2004 - 2007

Presidential and parliamentary elections took place again on November 28, 2004. No political party was able to secure a viable parliamentary majority. There was no winner in the first round of the presidential elections. Finally, the joint PNL-PD candidate, Traian Băsescu, won the second round on December 12, 2004 with 51% of the vote and thus became the third post-revolutionary president of Romania.

The PNL leader, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, was assigned the difficult task of building a coalition government excluding the PSD. In December 2004, the new coalition government (PD, PNL, PUR (Romanian Humanist Party) and UDMR) under prime minister Tăriceanu was sworn in.

Romania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004, and the European Union (EU), alongside Bulgaria, on January 1, 2007.

after 2007


See also

*Romanian property bubble

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