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ROMANIA

I INTRODUCTION
Romania, country in southeastern Europe. Romania is rich in culture
and natural resources, but it has long been one of Europes poorest and least deve
loped nations. Foreign powers, including the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empire
s, controlled the country or parts of it for much of its history. Bucharest is i
ts capital and largest city.
The modern country of Romania was created in 1859. It became fully i
ndependent in 1878. Romania was a kingdom from 1881 to 1947. In 1948 Communists
took control of Romania and modeled the government and economy after those of th
e Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). However, in the 1960s Romanias Comm
unist leaders began to distance themselves from the USSR and develop their own d
omestic and foreign policies. Romanias economy grew during the 1960s and 1970s, b
ut by the 1980s most Romanians were suffering from food shortages and other econ
omic hardships. In 1989 Romanians revolted against the repressive dictatorship o
f Nicolae Ceausescu, the countrys president and Communist Party leader. Ceausescu
was executed, and a non-Communist government was installed. The first free mult
iparty elections took place in Romania in 1990.

II LAND AND RESOURCES


Romania has a total land area of 237,500 sq km (91,700 sq mi). The c
ountry is bounded on the north by Ukraine, on the east by Moldova, on the southe
ast by the Black Sea, on the south by Bulgaria, on the southwest by the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and on the west by Hungary. Romania is roughly ova
l in shape, with a maximum distance from east to west of 720 km (450 mi) and a m
aximum distance from north to south of 515 km (320 mi). A long chain of mountain
ranges curves through northern and central Romania. The Danube River forms much
of the countrys southern and southwestern borders with Bulgaria and the FRY, and
the Prut River divides Romania from its northeastern neighbor Moldova.
A Natural Regions
Transylvania, an extensive elevated plateau region that reaches a ma
ximum height of about 600 m (about 2,000 ft), occupies most of central and north
western Romania. Transylvania is surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, a large
mountain system of central and eastern Europe. The Eastern Carpathians extend f
rom the northern border to the center of the country and contain the forested re
gion of Bukovina; the Southern Carpathians, also known as the Transylvanian Alps
, stretch westward from the Eastern Carpathian range; and the Western Carpathian
s traverse the western portion of Romania. The Southern Carpathians contain the
countrys highest peak, Moldoveanu, which reaches an elevation of 2,543 m (8,343 f
t). The geological structure of the Carpathians has given rise to severe earthqu
akes: In 1977 an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale inflict
ed serious damage on Bucharest and claimed more than 1,500 lives. Another earthq
uake measuring 6.0 was registered in 1990.

The areas stretching outward from Romanias mountainous interior conta


in hills and tablelands full of orchards and vineyards, and flat lowlands where
cereal and vegetable farming takes place. Western Romania is dominated by the Ti
sza Plain, which borders both Hungary and the FRY; the section of the plain that
borders the FRY is generally known as the region of Banat, while the section th
at borders Hungary is commonly referred to as Crisana-Maramures. To the east of
central Romania, stretching from the Carpathians to the Prut River along the Mol
dovan border, lies the region of Moldavia. Southern Romania contains the region
of Walachia, which stretches from the southernmost mountains to the Danube and c
ontains the city of Bucharest. The small region of Dobruja, located in the extre
me southeast between the Danube River and the Black Sea, is an important tourist
center.
B Rivers and Lakes
The most important river of Romania is the Danube. Its lower course
forms a delta that covers much of northeastern Dobruja. Most of Romanias major ri
vers are part of the Danube system; these include the Mures, the Somes, the Olt,
the Prut, and the Siret. Romania has many small, freshwater mountain lakes, but
the largest lakes are saline lagoons on the coast of the Black Sea; the largest
of these is Lake Razelm.
C Plant and Animal Life
Wooded steppe, now largely cleared for agriculture, dominates the pl
ains of Walachia and Moldavia. Fruit trees are common in the foothills of the mo
untains. The lower slopes have forests with deciduous trees such as birch, beech
, and oak. The forests of the higher elevations are coniferous, consisting large
ly of pine and spruce trees. Above the timberline (approximately 1,750 m/5,740 f
t), the vegetation is alpine.
Wild animal life is abundant in most parts of Romania. The larger an
imals, found chiefly in the Carpathian Mountains, include wild boar, wolves, lyn
x, foxes, bears, chamois, roe deer, and goats. In the plains, squirrels, hare, b
adgers, and polecats are common. Many species of birds are abundant; the Danube
delta region, now partly a nature preserve, is a stopover point for migratory bi
rds. Among species of fish found in the rivers and offshore are pike, sturgeon,
carp, flounder, herring, salmon, perch, and eel.
D Natural Resources
The principal resources of Romania are agricultural, but the country
also has significant mineral deposits, particularly petroleum, natural gas, sal
t, hard coal, lignite (brown coal), iron ore, copper, bauxite, chromium, mangane
se, lead, and zinc. Timber is also an important natural resource.
About 43 percent of land in Romania is cultivated for crops or used
for orchards, and the soils in most parts of the country are fertile. In Banat,
Walachia, and Moldavia, soils consist mainly of chernozem, or black earth, highl
y suited for growing grain. Soils in Transylvania are generally lower in nutrien
ts.
E Climate

Romania has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Temperat


ures are generally cooler in the mountains, while the hottest areas in summer ar
e the lowlands of Walachia, Moldavia, and Dobruja. The average daily temperature
range in Bucharest is -7 to 1C (19 to 34F) in January and 16 to 30C (61 to 86F) in J

. Rainfall is heaviest during the months of April, May, June, September, and Oct
ober. Yearly rainfall averages about 650 mm (about 25 in), ranging from about 50
0 mm (about 20 in) on the plains to about 1,020 mm (about 40 in) in the mountain
s. The climate of Dobruja is extremely dry.
F Environmental Issues
Air and water pollution by industry are serious environmental proble
ms in Romania. The countrys factories, chemical plants, and electric power plants
depend heavily on burning coal, a process that emits dangerous levels of carbon
dioxide and sulfur dioxide. The industrial centers of Copsa Mica, in central Ro
mania, and Giurgiu, in the south, have severe air pollution problems. Bucharest,
the capital, also has serious air pollution. Industrial runoff ends up in the D
anube and other rivers, making water unsafe for drinking and threatening the div
erse ecosystems of the Danube delta. The delta, the largest in Europe, was decla
red a World Heritage Site in 1991. Its lakes and marshes are home to hundreds of
species of birds and dozens of fish and reptile species. As a result of air and
water pollution, however, many species are threatened with extinction.
Unsystematic farming practices, particularly poor crop rotation, hav
e led to severe soil degradation and erosion in Romania. In the 1980s large trac
ts of marshland along the Danube were drained and converted to cropland to aid f
ood production. Nevertheless, deforestation is not a problem in Romaniain 1995, 2
7.1 percent of the countrys total land area was forested. The government has desi
gnated 4.7 percent (1997) of the countrys area protected. It has ratified interna
tional environmental agreements pertaining to air pollution, biodiversity, clima
te change, desertification, endangered species, environmental modification, haza
rdous wastes, ozone layer protection, ship pollution, and wetlands.
III THE PEOPLE OF ROMANIA
A Population and Settlement
At the 1992 census, Romania had a population of 22,760,449. The 2002
estimated population is 22,317,730, yielding an average population density of 9
4 persons per sq km (243 per sq mi). The population is 56 percent urban.
B Principal Cities
Bucharest, the capital and largest city of Romania, is the commercia
l and industrial center of the country. Other major cities include Constanta, th
e principal Romanian port on the Black Sea; Iasi, a cultural and manufacturing c
enter; Timisoara, a textile, machinery, and chemical manufacturing center; ClujNapoca, a commercial and industrial center; Galati, a naval and metallurgical ce
nter; Brasov, a transportation and industrial center; and Craiova, a center of f
ood processing and locomotive manufacturing.
C Ethnic Origins
Ethnic Romanians, who constitute about 89 percent of the population,
are descendants of the inhabitants of Dacia, an ancient land roughly equivalent
to modern Transylvania and Walachia. Dacia was conquered by the Romans and inco
rporated into the Roman Empire in the early 2nd century. The largest minority gr
oups are Hungarians, who comprise 7 percent of the population and are settled ch
iefly in Transylvania; Roma (or Gypsies), who constitute 2 percent of the popula
tion; and Germans, who make up less than 1 percent of the population. Romanias Ge
rman population has declined since the 1980s as many Germans have emigrated to G
ermany. Romania also has communities of Ukrainians, Ruthenians, Russians, Serbs,

Croats, Turks, Bulgarians, Tatars, and Slovaks.


D Language
Romanias official language is Romanian (see Romanian Language), a Rom
ance language derived mainly from Latin. Minority languages include Hungarian, G
erman, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, and Romani (the language of the Roma). English a
nd French are taught in many schools and are the most common second languages sp
oken in Romania.
E Religion
The principal religion of Romania is Christianity. The Romanian Orthodox Church
is the largest religious organization in the country, claiming 70 percent of the
people as adherents. Approximately 6 percent of inhabitants, including much of
the Hungarian population, are Roman Catholic. Another 6 percent of the populatio
n belongs to various Protestant denominations.The country also contains signific
ant numbers of Muslims and Jews.
F Education
The adult literacy rate in Romania is 100 percent. Before 1989 the e
ducational system heavily emphasized practical and technical studies; in recent
years, however, management, business, and social sciences have become more popul
ar. Education in Romania is free and compulsory for children between the ages of
7 and 14; most children choose to continue their education beyond the compulsor
y obligation. There are five types of secondary schooling available: general edu
cation schools, which prepare students to continue at the university level; voca
tional schools, which emphasize technical training; art schools, which provide g
eneral education with an emphasis on art and music; physical education schools,
which provide general education with an emphasis on physical fitness and trainin
g; and teacher-training schools.
Romania has eight general universities: the University of Bucharest
(founded in 1694; refounded in 1864); the Al. I. Cuza University of Iasi (founde
d in 1860); the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (1919); the University of
Craiova (1966); the University of Ploiesti (1948); the Dunarea de Jos (Lower Da
nube) University of Galati (founded in 1948; given university status in 1974); t
he University of Timisoara (founded in 1962); and the Transylvania University of
Brasov (1971). There are also eight technical universities and a number of othe
r institutions of higher education.
G Way of Life
The political and economic changes that have taken place in Romania
since the 1980s have made daily life difficult for many ordinary citizens. Food
prices are high relative to the countrys low minimum wage, and few Romanians can
afford luxuries. One-family houses are common in Romanias villages, while most ci
ty dwellers live in one-family apartments. Most apartment buildings were built d
uring the Communist period and are cramped with minimal facilities. In Romania t
here are 133 passenger cars and 175 telephones for every 1,000 inhabitants. Popu
lar Romanian foods include mititei (seasoned grilled meatballs) and mamaliga (a
cornmeal porridge that can be served in many different ways). Wine and a plum br
andy called tuica are popular beverages among Romanians, and placinta (turnovers
) are a typical dessert. Soccer is the favorite national sport.
H Social Problems
The most serious social problem in Romania is the high rate of unemp
loyment and low standard of living resulting from the countrys transition from a

state-run to a market economy. Other social problems surround the rights and tre
atment of Romanias minority populations. Since the end of Communism, the Roma min
ority has been a target of harassment and hostility. In the early 1990s a large
number of Roma left Romania for Germany, but the German government sent many of
them back the following year. Conflicts have also occurred between ethnic Hungar
ians and Romanians in Transylvania, as Hungarians demands for greater autonomy an
d linguistic rights have provoked responses from nationalist Romanian groups.

IV CULTURE

Romanian culture is largely derived from the Roman, with strains of


Slavic, Magyar (Hungarian), Greek, and Turkish influence. Poems, folktales, and
folk music have always held a central place in Romanian culture. Romanian litera
ture, art, and music attained maturity in the 19th century. Although Romania has
been influenced by divergent Western trends, it also has a rich native culture.
A Literature
While under Communist control, the countrys literature was characteri
zed by socialist realism.
Romanian literature has a rich and varied history. Between the 15th
and 18th centuries the national literature was primarily religious. In the late
18th century historical writing became the dominant literary form; a number of m
ajor works from this period considered the origins and history of the Romanian p
eople. In the century before World War I (1914-1918), Romanian literature reache
d maturity and reflected national unity. A major figure of this period was poet
Mihai Eminescu, whose work was influenced by German Romanticism. Other authors w
ho distinguished themselves were narrative poet and dramatist Vasile Alecsandri
and dramatist Ion Luca Caragiale, whose plays satirized middle-class life in lat
e 19th century. Between 1921 and 1945 symbolism became important in Romanian poe
try; important poets of that period were Lucian Blaga, who was also a philosophe
r, and Tudor Arghezi. The novel also came into prominence at this time, and Miha
il Sadoveanu was widely considered to be Romanias most important novelist. From t
he late 1940s through the 1980s, while Romania was under Communist control, the
countrys literature was characterized by socialist realism, except for a brief pe
riod in the late 1960s when cultural controls were relaxed. Romanian-born playwr
ight Eugne Ionesco became famous after World War II (1939-1945) while living in F
rance.
B Art and Music
Romanian art, like Romanian literature, reached its peak during the
19th century. Among the leading painters were Theodor Aman, a portraitist, and l
andscape painter Nicolae Grigorescu. Between 1945 and 1989 Romanian art was domi
nated by socialist realism, a school of art that was officially sponsored by the
Communist government, and through which socialist ideals were promoted and adva
nced. A notable contribution to modern concepts of 20th-century art was the work
of Romanian-born French sculptor Constantin Brancusi.
A number of Romanian musicians achieved international recognition in
the 20th century. Most notable among them were Georges Enesco, a violinist and
composer who is perhaps best known for his Romanian rhapsodies, and pianist Dinu
Lipatti.
C Libraries and Museums

Romanias principal libraries are the National Library (founded in 195


5) and the Library of the Academy of Romania (1867), both in Bucharest. The Roma
nian National Museum of Art (1950), in Bucharest, contains fine collections of n
ational, Western, and Asian art. Other important museums include the Historical
Museum of Bucharest (1984) and the Museum of Romanian Literature (1957), also lo
cated in Bucharest.

V ECONOMY
Before World War II, the Romanian economy was primarily agricultural
. In 1948 the Communist government came to power and took control of nearly all
aspects of the economy. Through a series of five-year plans, the Communists tran
sformed Romania into an industrial nation. The economy grew considerably during
the first part of the Communist period, but by the 1980s it had slid into declin
e, and shortages of consumer goods and degradation of the environment had become
widespread. After the Communist government was overthrown in 1989, the Romanian
economy virtually collapsed. Although dominated by former Communists, the new g
overnment began taking steps to reform the economy in the early 1990s. These ste
ps included devaluing the national currency, removing government subsidies on mo
st consumer goods, and converting some state-owned companies to private ownershi
p.
The Romanian economy declined considerably in the early 1990s. After
several years of decline, the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by about 1
percent in 1993. In May 1994 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued the R
omanian government a $700 million loan, which helped to lower the countrys inflat
ion rate by 1995. Although Romanias private sector grew considerably, especially
in the area of services, most of the countrys industrial production remained in s
tate hands in 1995. This provoked concern among international lenders, with the
IMF suspending further loans, and hindered Romanias efforts to attract foreign in
vestment.
In June 1995 the Romanian parliament passed a mass privatization pro
gram with the goal of transferring more than 2,000 companies to private ownershi
p. Due to the continued slow pace of economic reform, however, the IMF did not r
esume disbursing loans to Romania in 1996, and foreign investment remained negli
gible. In 1997 the Romanian government promised to institute rigorous reforms an
d the IMF responded by awarding the country a $430 million loan. However, the go
vernment only succeeded in lifting price controls before privatization bogged do
wn again. In January 1998 the IMF froze disbursement of loans to Romania once ag
ain. Most companies remained in state hands as of early 1999.
Romania is currently a member of the IMF, the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the European Bank for Reconstr
uction and Development (EBRD). Romania became an associate member of the Europea
n Union (EU) in February 1993, and in December 1997 the EU invited Romania to be
gin the process of becoming a full member. No timetable was established at that
time for when it would join. A free trade agreement with the European Free Trade
Association went into effect in May 1993.
A Labor
Unemployment has been a significant problem in Romania since the col
lapse of Communism in 1989; 10.8 percent of the population was unemployed in 200
0. Some 42 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture, forestry, or f
ishing; 28 percent in manufacturing, mining, or construction; and 31 percent in

services.
22 percent of the working population belongs to one of a number of n
ew trade organizations in Romania.
The regulations governing trade unions were liberalized after the co
llapse of the Communist government, and significant labor unrest occurred in the
early 1990s, particularly among miners. Approximately 22 percent of the working
population belongs to one of a number of new trade organizations in Romania. Th
e largest such organization is the National Free Trade Union Confederation of Ro
mania (or, CNSLR-Fratia), which was formed by a merger in 1993 and has headquart
ers in Bucharest.
B Agriculture
Farm in Romania More than two-fifths of the land in Romania is used
to grow crops. During the Communist period much of the land was organized into c
ollective farms. Since the end of Communist rule in 1989, the Romanian governmen
t has returned most of the countrys farms, such as this one located near the Carp
athian Mountains, to the original owners or their heirs.Walter S. Clark/Photo Re
searchers, Inc.
Field crops or orchards occupy 43 percent of land in Romania. In the
mid-1980s more than 80 percent of farms in Romania were either owned by the sta
te or organized as collectives; in collective farms, workers received wages, far
m products, and a portion of the farms profits. Because of the Communist governme
nts emphasis on industrial development, agricultural improvements and investments
were neglected, and food shortages developed in the 1980s.
After the Communist regime was overthrown, Romanias new government be
gan the process of dissolving collective farms and distributing land to individu
al farmworkers. Although state farms were not broken up, farmworkers whose land
had been incorporated into state farms were compensated. By 1994 about 46 percen
t of agricultural land had been returned to its original owners or their heirs,
and by 1995 more than three-fourths of Romanias farmland had been privatized.
In 1992 a severe drought caused a major decline in agricultural outp
ut; by the following year, however, the sector had largely recovered. In the ear
ly 1990s Romanias principal crops were grains, including corn, wheat, barley, and
rye; potatoes; grapes; and sugar beets. Cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, and poultr
y were the most important types of livestock. Wine production plays a significan
t role in Romanian agriculture.
C Forestry and Fishing
Forests, which cover 28 percent of Romanias total land area, are stat
e property. The countrys timber provides the basis for important lumber, paper, a
nd furniture industries. The Black Sea and the Danube delta regions are known fo
r their sturgeon catch, and the country undertakes considerable fishing operatio
ns in the Atlantic Ocean.
D Mining
Petroleum is Romanias principal mineral resource, and the city of Plo
iesti is the center of the petroleum industry. However, petroleum production is
declining due to the gradual depletion of reserves. Important new deposits were
found under the Black Sea in the 1980s, but petroleum reserves were expected to
remain slim. Natural gas is produced in significant quantities. Other mineral pr
oducts include lignite (brown coal), hard coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, lead,

and zinc.
E Manufacturing
Romanian Bauxite Plant A bauxite extraction plant spews a cloud of p
ollution over the Danube delta city of Tulcea. Severe air pollution problems ste
m from the rapid industrialization of Romania during the Communist period.Barry
Lewis/Corbis
During the Communist period, Romanias leaders pursued a policy of rap
id industrialization with an emphasis on heavy industry, particularly machinery
and chemicals; a much lesser emphasis was placed on consumer goods (goods manufa
ctured for use by people). In the early 1990s Romanias chief manufactures were ma
chinery, chemicals, cement and other construction materials, iron and steel, woo
d products, processed foods, textiles and clothing, and footwear. Many industrie
s, particularly iron and steel, have been hampered by shortages of electricity a
nd raw materials.
F Energy
Thermal power plants fueled by petroleum, gas, and coal supply 54 pe
rcent of Romanias electricity, while most of the rest comes from hydroelectric fa
cilities. The country has two major hydroelectric plants, operated jointly with
Serbia at the Iron Gate gorge on the Danube. A nuclear power plant opened in 199
6 at Cernavoda.
G Tourism and Foreign Trade
Romanias tourism industry has expanded considerably since the end of
the Communist period. Popular attractions include the Carpathian Mountains, the
Danube delta region, and the resorts and beaches of the Black Sea.
During the early part of the Communist period, Romanias foreign trade
was conducted almost exclusively with the USSR and other Communist countries. H
owever, in the 1960s trade restrictions were eased somewhat and Romania began ex
panding its contacts with Western nations. In 2000 exports totaled $10.4 billion
and imports totaled $13.1 billion. Principal exports include metals and metal p
roducts, mineral products, textiles, and electrical machines and equipment. Impo
rts include minerals, machinery and equipment, textiles, and agriculture goods.
Leading purchasers of Romanias exports are Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, The Ne
therlands, and China. Chief sources for imports are Germany, Italy, Russia, Fran
ce, the United States, and Egypt.
H Currency and Banking
The basic monetary unit of Romania is the leu (plural, lei), divided
into 100 bani. The leu was devalued in October 1990, but since 1991 its value h
as been determined by the open market. In 1990 about 22 lei were equal to U.S.$1
; by 2000 the exchange rate averaged 21,709 lei per U.S.$1. The National Bank of
Romania (founded in 1880) is the countrys bank of issue; it is also responsible
for managing monetary policy and supervising the financial activities of all sta
te enterprises. A number of private banks have been founded since 1990. A Romani
an stock market opened in Bucharest in June 1995.
I Transportation
Romanias railroad system is owned by the government. Buses provide a
popular means of transportation within cities, and Bucharest has a subway system
.

Romanias principal seaports are Constanta, on the Black Sea, and Gala
ti and Braila, neighboring cities on the lower Danube; Giurgiu, which has pipeli
ne connections to the oil fields of Ploiesti, is an important river port. A cana
l that opened in 1984 links Constanta with Cernavoda, a Danube River port. Anoth
er canal, completed in 1992, connects the Main and Danube rivers and allows tran
sport from the Black Sea to the North Sea via the Rhine River. Romania has two m
ajor airlines, TAROM, which is owned by the state, and LAR, which was establishe
d as an independent airline in 1990. International airports are located in Bucha
rest, Constanta, Timisoara, and Arad.
J Communications
Romanias press has a regional, rather than a national, orientation.
Under the Communist regime, Romanias press and media were subject to
strict governmental control. However, the democratic constitution adopted in 199
1 provides for freedom of the press. Romanias press has a regional, rather than a
national, orientation. Newspapers and periodicals are published in all of the c
ountrys administrative districts, and many are published in the languages of Roma
nias ethnic minorities, including Hungarian, German, and Serbo-Croatian. The numb
er of newspapers in Romania has increased substantially in recent years; in 1998
there were 95. The newspaper with the largest circulation is Evenimentul Zilei
(The Event of the Day), published in Bucharest. Other important newspapers inclu
de Adevarul (The Truth) and Romania Libera (Free Romania), both of which are pub
lished in Bucharest. A large number of periodicals are also published. Although
radio and television in Romania are still largely state-owned, several independe
nt stations have been established since 1990.
VI GOVERNMENT

Between 1948 and 1989 the Communists controlled all levels of govern
ment in Romania, and the head of the Communist Party was the countrys most powerf
ul leader. In 1989 the Romanian army joined in a popular uprising against the Co
mmunist regime. President Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed and executed, and a prov
isional government was established with Ion Iliescu, a former Communist, as pres
ident. In May 1990 multiparty elections were held to elect a president and natio
nal legislature. Iliescu was elected president, and his party, the National Libe
ration Front (NLF), gained control of the legislature. In December 1991 a new co
nstitution was approved by popular referendum. The constitution declares Romania
to be a parliamentary republic and provides for multiple political parties, a s
eparation of powers between branches of government, a market economy, and respec
t for human rights. In 1996 presidential and legislative elections, the former C
ommunists were defeated by an opposition coalition, with Iliescu losing the pres
idency to a reformist, Emil Constantinescu. Presidential and legislative electio
ns in 2000 brought Iliescu and the former Communists, now calling themselves Soc
ial Democrats, back to power.

A Executive
The president of Romania is elected by direct, popular vote for a ma
ximum of two four-year terms. He or she represents the country in matters of for
eign affairs and is the commander of the armed forces. According to the 1991 con
stitution, the president may not belong to any political party.

The president appoints a prime minister to head the government; the


prime minister is generally the leader of the party with the majority of seats i
n parliament. The prime minister is responsible for selecting a cabinet to help
carry out the operations of government.
B Legislature
Romania has a bicameral (two-chamber) parliament called the National
Assembly. Its lower house, called the Chamber of Deputies, maintains 343 seats,
of which 15 are reserved for ethnic minorities; the upper house, or Senate, has
143 seats. Members of both houses of parliament are elected for four-year terms
, according to a modified system of proportional representation. All citizens ag
ed 18 and over are eligible to vote.
C Judiciary
The Supreme Court is Romanias highest judicial authority. Its members are appoint
ed by the president at the proposal of the Superior Council of Magistrates. In e
ach of Romanias 40 counties and in the special district of Bucharest there is a c
ounty court and several lower courts, or courts of first instance. The country a
lso has 15 circuits of appellate courts, in which appeals against sentences pass
ed by local courts are heard; there is a right of appeal from the appellate cour
ts to the Supreme Court. Romania has a Constitutional Court, charged with ensuri
ng a balance of power among the organs of government. The procurator-general is
the highest judicial official in Romania, and is responsible to the National Ass
embly, which appoints him or her for a four-year term. The death penalty was abo
lished in December 1989 and is forbidden by the 1991 constitution.
D Political Parties
Between 1948 and 1989 the only political organization in Romania was
the Communist Party. Led by Nicolae Ceausescu after 1965, it controlled all asp
ects of government. After Ceausescu was deposed in 1989, the Communist Party dis
solved and a number of former members formed the National Salvation Front (NSF).
Many other new parties also emerged at this time. In May 1990 Romanias first fre
e multiparty elections since World War II were held, and the NSF scored an overw
helming victory. In subsequent elections held in 1992, the Democratic National S
alvation Front (DNSF), which had broken from the NSF, gained the majority of sea
ts in parliament. In 1993 the DNSF merged with the Romanian Party of Social Demo
cracy and the Republican Party and became the Party of Social Democracy of Roman
ia (PSDR). The Romanian Communist Party was reestablished in May 1994.
About 200 political parties were registered in Romania in 1994; howe
ver, only a small percentage of these were represented in the government. The pa
rty with the largest representation in the legislature was the PSDR, which gover
ned in coalition with other anti-reform parties. The Democratic Convention of Ro
mania (DCR), the main opposition grouping led by the Christian Democratic Nation
al Peasants Party, also held seats in both houses of the legislature. The PSDR lo
st to the reform-minded DCR in the November 1996 legislative elections. The DCR,
which won the most seats of any party or coalition, then joined in a governing
coalition with another group of opposition partiesthe Social Democratic Union (SD
U)supported by the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (which represents the co
untrys Hungarian minority). The PSDR won the greatest number of seats (but not a
majority) in the legislative elections of November 2000. It decided to govern al
one in a minority government rather than form a coalition.
E Local Government
Romania is divided into 40 counties and the municipality of Buchares

t. Each unit has its own local government, as do cities, towns, and communes (ru
ral areas), within each county.
F Social Services
Romania has a comprehensive social insurance system that includes va
cations at health resorts.
Romania has a comprehensive social insurance system that includes me
dical care, family allowances, retirement pensions, and vacations at health reso
rts. After the revolution of 1989, Romanias poor health conditions were brought t
o light. International attention was focused particularly on Romanian orphanages
containing large numbers of neglected children, many whom were found to be suff
ering from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis, and other serio
us illnesses. In the mid-1990s Romania had one of the highest infant mortality r
ates in Europe. The World Bank has granted loans to the Romanian government to h
elp improve the countrys health-care system.
G Defense
In 2001 the total strength of Romanias armed forces was 103,000 membe
rs. In addition to centrally controlled units, the armed forces consisted of 52,
900 in the army, 18,900 in the air force, and 10,200 in the navy. Military servi
ce is compulsory for all men and lasts for a period of 12 months in the army and
air force and 18 months in the navy. The Securitate (secret police force), loya
l to Ceausescu, was disbanded in 1990 and replaced by the Romanian Intelligence
Service.
H International Organizations
Romania is a member of the United Nations (UN) and the Council of Eu
rope (CE). In January 1994 it joined the Partnership for Peace program as a prec
ursor to eventual membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

VII HISTORY

The territory that is now Romania first appeared in history as Dacia


. Most of its inhabitants were originally from the region of Thrace, in Greece;
they were called Getae by the Greeks, and later, by the Romans, they were known
as Dacians. Between ad 101 and 106 Dacia was conquered by Roman emperor Trajan a
nd incorporated into the Roman Empire as a province. Roman colonists were sent i
nto Dacia, and Rome developed the region considerably, building roads, bridges,
and a great wall that stretched from what is today the Black Sea port of Constan
ta across the region of Dobruja to the Danube River.
In the middle part of the 3rd century the Goths drove the Romans out
of much of Dacia. In about 270 Roman Emperor Lucius Domitius Aurelian decided t
o withdraw the Roman legions and colonies to an area south of the Danube; some R
oman civilians chose to stay, however. Under the influence of the Romans, the pe
ople of Dacia adopted the Latin language.
For the next thousand years, the Daco-Roman people were subjected to
successive invasions by the Huns, Avars, Slavs, and Bulgars. Slavs brought Chri
stianity to the region in the 4th century, and through intermarriage and assimil
ation, changed the ethnic balance in Romania. Its inhabitants developed into a d
istinct ethnic group, known as the Vlachs, a name designating Latin-speakers of

the Balkan Peninsula. In the 9th century the Eastern Orthodox form of Christiani
ty was introduced by the Bulgars.
In 1003 King Stephen I of Hungary established control over most of t
he region of Transylvania in what is now central and northwestern Romania. In th
e 13th century King Bla IV of Hungary brought Saxons and other Germanic tribes in
to Transylvania to strengthen Hungarys position there. In the middle of the 13th
century Hungarian expansion drove many Vlachs to settle south and east of the Ca
rpathian Mountains. There they established the principality of Walachia, and lat
er that of Moldavia. Each was ruled by a succession of voivodes (native princes)
, who were generally under the authority of either Hungary or Poland. Until the
19th century the history of Romania was that of the separate principalities of W
alachia and Moldavia.
A Walachia
Michael the Brave Michael the Brave, ruler of Walachia from 1593 to
1601, is the national hero of Romania. He led a revolt against the Ottoman Empir
e in 1599 and united Walachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania. He was assassinated i
n 1601 on orders of a Habsburg general who sought Habsburg domination of Transyl
vania.Hulton Getty/Archive Photos
During the 13th and 14th centuries, Walachia was involved in frequen
t struggles against Hungary. In the 15th century the rulers of the Ottoman Empir
e began to extend their conquests northward. Walachia was forced to capitulate t
o the Ottomans, although its leadership, territory, and religion were not change
d. Direct Ottoman rule was not felt in Walachia until after the Ottomans defeate
d the Hungarians at the Battle of Mohcs in 1526.
At the end of the 16th century, a Walachian voivode, Michael the Br
ave, led a revolt against the Ottomans.
At the end of the 16th century, a Walachian voivode, Michael the Bra
ve, led a revolt against the Ottomans and succeeded in bringing Walachia, Moldav
ia, and Transylvania under his rule for a very brief period. Michael is the nati
onal hero of Romania for his part in this uprising and for being the first to co
mbine the three territories that were to form Romania. After Michaels defeat and
death in 1601, the Hungarians ruled over Transylvania and the Ottomans regained
control of Moldavia and Walachia. Until 1821 the ruling families were often of G
reek origin. Known as hospodars, they were chosen from the Phanar district of Co
nstantinople (now stanbul, Turkey) by the Ottoman sultan. The period of Phanariot
rule was one of the most oppressive and corrupt in Romanian history. Exploitati
on of the peasants caused mass starvation and emigration.
B Moldavia
The history of Moldavia followed a course similar to that of Walachi
a. The Moldavians were subjected first to Hungarian and then to Polish rule befo
re the Ottomans established a firm hold over the region shortly after their conq
uest of Walachia. The reign of Moldavias national hero Stephen the Great, which l
asted from 1457 until 1504, was marked by futile attempts to gain united support
from Poland, Hungary, and Venice against the Ottomans. As in Walachia, the Otto
mans introduced Phanariot rule, with the same disastrous results.
C Russian Domination
By the early 1700s the power of the Ottoman Empire was declining. In
the later 18th century Catherine the Great of Russia, who had sought Romanian s
upport against the Ottomans, declared Russia the protector of all Orthodox Chris
tians in the Ottoman Empire and brought Moldavia and Walachia under Russias spher

e of influence. In 1821 Tudor Vladimirescu, a Romanian officer in the Russian ar


my, led a nationalist revolt resulting in the replacement of Phanariot rule with
that of native Romanian princes in Moldavia and Walachia. However, Russia obtai
ned concessions in Romania as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars. By the terms o
f the Treaty of Bucharest (1812), Russia annexed the region of Bessarabia (Bessa
rabiya) from Moldavia. The Treaty of Adrianople (1829) gave Russia a virtual pro
tectorate over Moldavia and Walachia. A Russian-sponsored constitution gave powe
r to the native princes and landowners of Moldavia and Walachia. Creation of the
same governmental structure for both principalities facilitated their later uni
on.
D The Struggle for Independence
Alexandru Cuza Alexandru Cuza was the ruler of Romania from 1859 to
1866. He was the first ruler of the modern country. His attempts at land reforms
led the local landowners to force him to abdicate.Archivo Iconografico, S.A./Co
rbis
By the mid-1800s a unification movement had gathered strength in Mol
davia and Walachia. The movement produced local uprisings that were suppressed b
y the combined action of Ottoman and Russian troops. The Treaty of Paris of 1856
, which ended the Crimean War between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, established
Moldavia and Walachia as principalities that would continue to pay tribute to t
he Ottoman Empire. Russia was obliged to return southern Bessarabia to Moldavia.
In 1857 the councils of Moldavia and Walachia voted for union under the name Ro
mania, with a hereditary prince, autonomy, and neutrality. Alexandru Ion Cuza wa
s elected prince in January 1859.
In May 1864 a new constitution of Romania was adopted, establishing
a bicameral national legislature. In the same year, Prince Alexandru Ion I freed
the peasants from their feudal burdens. His attempts at reform led to his remov
al by local landowners in 1866. A German prince, under the name of Carol I, was
elected to replace him, and a new constitution gave Carol veto power over all le
gislation. The long period of Carols reign (prince, 1866-1881; king, 1881-1914) s
aw great economic expansion but few political rights for the Romanian people. Th
e last traces of Ottoman rule, which had lasted for nearly 500 years, finally di
sappeared as a result of a Russian-Romanian victory over the Ottomans in the Rus
so-Turkish War of 1877 and 1878.
E The Kingdom of Romania
The full independence of Romania was recognized in 1878 by the Congr
ess of Berlin, which also restored southern Bessarabia to Russia. As compensatio
n, Romania accepted northern Dobruja from Bulgaria. Carol I was crowned king in
1881 and won the recognition of the major European powers.
Political corruption, continual foreign intervention, and the need f
or land reform continued. Two Balkan Wars, arising from the collapse of Ottoman
power in Europe, were fought in 1912 and 1913. Romania entered the second Balkan
War and annexed the southern part of Dobruja from Bulgaria. King Carol died in
1914 and was succeeded by his nephew, Ferdinand I.
F Greater Romania
When World War I broke out in 1914, Romania declared a policy of arm
ed neutrality.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Romania declared a policy of arm
ed neutrality. However, in August 1916, Romania joined the Allies in their fight
against the Central Powers, chiefly Austria-Hungary and Germany. Romania hoped

to gain several provinces of Austria-Hungary that had large Romanian populations


. The Allies won the war in 1918, and as part of the peace settlement, Romania a
cquired Transylvania, part of the Banat, and the Crisana-Maramures region from H
ungary, Bukovina from Austria, and Bessarabia from Russia. Romania emerged from
the war having almost doubled its area and population.
During the 1920s, Romania had a parliamentary regime and a prosperou
s economy. Land reform broke up many large estates. However, friction between et
hnic minorities, many of them living in territories ceded to Romania after World
War I, caused instability. King Ferdinands reign ended with his death in 1927, b
ut his son, Crown Prince Carol, renounced the throne in favor of his own son Mic
hael.

G The Rise of Fascism


After 1929, Romania was engulfed in the general world economic crisi
s. Large-scale unemployment and political unrest led to the rapid growth of fasc
ist organizations, the most powerful of which was the violently anti-Semitic Iro
n Guard. Prince Carol returned in 1930 and was proclaimed King Carol II. Romania
moved slowly into the sphere of influence of Nazi Germany. Rigid censorship was
introduced, and the administration began to govern by decree. In 1938 Carol ass
umed dictatorial powers, but the new regime was not supported by the government.
After the signing of the German-Soviet pact in 1939, Romania was forced to cede
part of Transylvania to Hungary and to give Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to
the USSR. Southern Dobruja was returned to Bulgaria soon afterwards. Faced with
the beginning of rebellion led by the Iron Guard, the king suspended Romanias co
nstitution and appointed General Ion Antonescu prime minister. Antonescu, backed
by the Guard, demanded that King Carol abdicate in favor of the kings son Michae
l, and leave the country. Antonescu then assumed dictatorial powers and became c
hief of state as well as president of the council of ministers.
H World War II
As an ally of Germany, Romania declared war on the USSR in 1941. The
Romanian army reclaimed Bessarabia and Bukovina and advanced as far as southern
Ukraine, but suffered heavy losses in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 and 1943
. When Soviet troops entered Romania in 1944, King Michael dismissed Antonescu,
surrendered to the USSR, and declared war on Germany. Soviet pressure led to the
creation of a left-wing government under Petru Groza in March 1945.
I Romania Under Communism
By the terms of the armistice agreement, Romania lost northern Bukov
ina and Bessarabia to the USSR and recovered northern Transylvania from Hungary.
The agreement also limited the strength of the Romanian armed forces and stipul
ated that the Romanian people should enjoy all personal liberties. On December 3
0, 1947, the monarchy was abolished, and King Michael was forced to abdicate. Th
e Peoples Republic of Romania was then proclaimed, with a constitution similar to
that of the USSR, and power passed to the Communist Party.
In 1948 and 1949 Romanian cultural and political institutions were r
eorganized to conform with Soviet models. This process, known as Sovietization,
also included frequent purges of dissidents (political protestors). In 1949 the
United States and the United Kingdom twice accused Romania of systematically vio
lating the human rights provisions in the post-World War II peace treaty. In Nov
ember 1950 this charge was upheld by the United Nations General Assembly. New co
nstitutions adopted in 1952 and 1965 were both patterned after the Soviet Commun

ist government. Throughout the postwar period Romanias leadership remained stable
. Gheorghe Gheorgiu-Dej, head of the Communist Party since 1945, replaced Groza
as premier.
J An Independent Regime
After the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1953, Romania grad
ually drew away from close dependence on the USSR. Gheorgiu-Dej asserted the cou
ntrys right to develop its own variety of socialism. Throughout the 1950s the gov
ernment emphasized the nationalization and development of industry. This effort
proved highly successful, and in the 1960s official estimates of the national in
dustrial growth rate averaged about 12 percent annually, ranking among the highe
st in Eastern Europe. The collectivization of agriculture began in July 1949, an
d in 1962 the government announced that all arable land had been absorbed into t
he socialized sector. Farmers were permitted, however, to retain small plots for
private use.
In the early postwar years, under Soviet domination, Romania coopera
ted fully in such Communist organizations as Cominform, the Council for Mutual E
conomic Assistance (COMECON), and after 1955, the Warsaw Pact. From the early 19
60s on, however, Romania began to exercise a considerable degree of independence
. In 1963 the government rejected COMECON plans for the integration of the econo
mies of the Communist states, chiefly because the plans restricted Romania to a
role as supplier of oil, grains, and primary materials. Romanians thought these
plans would hinder their rate of industrial growth, which had been higher in the
several years prior than that of any other Soviet-bloc country. Romanian protes
ts gained some concessions in the form of Soviet aid for the development of a ma
jor steel plant at Galati. The rift between the USSR and China in the 1960s gave
Romania new opportunities to throw off Soviet influence. A party statement in 1
964 confirmed Romanias independent policies, including closer ties with the West.
In 1965 Gheorgiu-Dej, party chief for most of 20 years, died and was
succeeded by Nicolae Ceausescu. In 1967 Ceausescu also became president of the
state council. He advanced Romanias nationalist policies and renamed the country
the Socialist Republic of Romania. A new constitution in 1965 downgraded the USS
Rs role in Romanian history. The country did not follow the Soviet bloc in breaki
ng diplomatic ties with Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, or in invading C
zechoslovakia in 1968.
At home, the Communist government held sole power, censored the
s, and restricted personal liberties. Ceausescu promoted a personality cult
nd himself and his family. Improved relations with China and Western Europe
ght aid and new technology, and the economy grew substantially in the 1960s
1970s.

pres
arou
brou
and

Romania continued to pursue an independent foreign policy, despite t


he disapproval of the Soviet bloc. In addition, the Romanian government actively
increased its contacts with the West. After a visit from United States presiden
t Richard Nixon in 1969, Ceausescu paid several visits to the United States. In
1975 the United States granted Romania most-favored-nation status, and in 1976 a
ten-year economic pact was signed by the two countries. Romania joined the Inte
rnational Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (World Bank) in 1972 and in 1976 signed the first formal pact (on te
xtiles) between the European Economic Community and an Eastern European nation.
As the leader of the only Eastern European country to recognize both
Israel and Egypt, Ceausescu helped arrange Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadats hi
storic peacemaking visit to Israel in 1977. Romania signed a friendship treaty w
ith the USSR in 1970, received Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev in 1
976, and sent Ceausescu to the USSR and East Germany. Romania also signed a trea

ty of friendship with Hungary in 1972 and agreements on hydroelectricity with Yu


goslavia in 1976 and Bulgaria in 1977. Taking an unprecedented step outside the
Soviet bloc, Ceausescu visited the Peoples Republic of China in 1971, subsequentl
y signing economic and air transport agreements. In 1980 he refused to endorse t
he Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Although diplomatic in matters of foreign policy, Ceausescu strictly
enforced Communist orthodoxy in domestic affairs. In 1971 he cracked down on al
l deviation in party, government, and cultural leadership. He was reelected head
of state in 1975, and the party and government were reorganized in 1977. Despit
e enormous damage caused by severe floods and an earthquake, the economy grew du
ring the 1970s, especially heavy industry and foreign trade. However, repression
, pollution, and mismanagement of agriculture gradually discredited the governme
nt. In the 1980s Ceausescu used virtually all of Romanias foreign currency reserv
es to pay off the foreign debt, producing major food and fuel shortages in a cou
ntry whose standard of living was already among the lowest in Europe. A forced r
esettlement program announced in 1988, which called for the destruction of up to
8,000 villages, was also widely unpopular.
K The Regime Changes
Demonstration for Democracy Romanias antigovernment demonstrations of
December 16 to 22, 1989, brought an end to the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceau
sescu when the army joined the uprising. Before the months end, Ceausescu and his
wife, Elena, were captured, tried, and executed.Francis Apesteguy/Liaison Agenc
y
In 1989 Ceausescus brutal suppression of antigovernment demonstration
s in Timisoara turned the army against him. He fled Bucharest with his wife, Ele
na, on December 22, 1989, but the two were soon captured. Ceausescu and his wife
were charged with murder and embezzlement of government funds, and a secret tri
al took place. Both were found guilty and were executed on December 25. An inter
im body made up chiefly of former Communist officials took control of the govern
ment, and Ion Iliescu became the countrys acting president. The new government re
voked many of Ceausescus repressive policies and imprisoned some of the leaders o
f his regime.
In May 1990 multiparty elections for the legislature and the preside
ncy were held. Iliescu was elected president, and his party, the National Salvat
ion Front (NSF), won control of the legislature. Peter Roman became Romanias prim
e minister. The elections did not put a stop to the antigovernment demonstration
s, which continued throughout the year, often in protest of economic conditions.
Riots by miners led to the resignation of Romans government in September. In Oct
ober former finance minister Theodor Stolojan succeeded Roman as prime minister
and formed a new cabinet. An economic austerity program was introduced that mont
h.
L Recent Developments
In December 1991 a new democratic constitution was adopted by popula
r referendum. Presidential and legislative elections were held in September 1992
with a runoff presidential contest in October. Iliescu was reelected president,
while the Democratic National Salvation Front (DNSF), a party that emerged from
the breakup of the NSF, won the largest representation in the legislature and f
ormed a coalition government. Iliescu appointed economist Nicolae Vacaroiu to he
ad the government as prime minister. In 1993 the DNSF merged with several smalle
r parties and changed its name to the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PSDR
). During 1994 nationalist parties gained increasing influence in the Romanian g
overnment.

Romania experienced significant ethnic turmoil in the early 1990s. A


ttacks against Roma (Gypsies) in 1991 resulted in an exodus of Roma to Germany.
However, in September 1992 the German government returned 43,000 refugees to Rom
ania, more than half of them Roma. Relations with Hungary were strained as a res
ult of clashes between ethnic Hungarians and Romanian nationalists in Transylvan
ia. In 1993 the Romanian government expanded the educational and linguistic righ
ts of ethnic Germans and Hungarians within its borders. In 1994 Romania hosted a
n international conference on the status of ethnic minorities in Central Europe.
However, disagreements over the rights of ethnic minorities in Romania continue
d to be a problem. In June 1995 the Romanian parliament enacted a law that denie
d ethnic minorities the right to higher education in their native language in ma
ny subjects. Thousands of ethnic Hungarians protested against the legislation. I
n September 1996 the leaders of Romania and Hungary signed a treaty of friendshi
p and cooperation that guaranteed the rights of ethnic minority groups.
In the 1990s Romanias foreign affairs were focused primarily on relat
ions with Western Europe. Romania became an associate member of the European Uni
on in 1993 and formally applied for full membership in 1995. Romania also joined
the Partnership for Peace program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NA
TO) in 1994 and is currently seeking full NATO membership.
Presidential and legislative elections held in November 1996 marked
Romanias first peaceful transfer of power. The ruling coalition headed by the PSD
R lost its majority in parliament to opposition parties. The Democratic Conventi
on of Romania (DCR), a coalition of six opposition parties, joined with another
opposition grouping, the Social Democratic Union (SDU), in a governing coalition
, forming Romanias first staunchly anti-Communist majority in the legislature. Th
e DCRs presidential candidate, reform-minded academic Emil Constantinescu, defeat
ed Iliescu in the runoff presidential elections held November 17. Constantinescu
named a popular DCR politician, Bucharest mayor Victor Ciorbea, as the new prim
e minister.
The new government pledged to implement a comprehensive plan of econ
omic reform in an attempt to counter Romanias seven years of lackluster progress
toward a free-market economy. Also during this time, the government pursued a hi
ghly publicized and rigorous campaign against crime and corruption. Constantines
cu symbolically broke with former policy by lifting a ban on visits into the cou
ntry by Romanias former monarch, King Michael, who was deposed during the Communi
st takeover.
In 1997 Romanias diplomatic relations with its neighbors improved dra
matically. Efforts to reconcile centuries of distrust with Hungary brought an un
precedented visit to Romania by a Hungarian head of state, President rpd Gncz, in l
ate May. In early June the presidents of Ukraine and Romania signed a friendship
treaty that ended a decades-old territorial dispute over a fuel-rich island loc
ated near the coasts of both countries in the Black Sea.
However, for all of its success internationally, Ciorbeas government
struggled domestically to continue the process of economic reform. In 1997 infla
tion soared, state-owned companies and utilities with bloated payrolls were not
streamlined, and a promised sale of the state banks never occurred. The SDU defe
cted from Ciorbeas coalition in parliament in January 1998, and in March Ciorbea
was forced to resign. Radu Vasile, from the DCR, was appointed in April to succe
ed him, and the SDU rejoined the ruling coalition. Upon taking office, Vasile pr
omised to move ahead with privatization. Vasiles government planned to close more
than 150 unprofitable factories and mines. In January 1999 about 10,000 strikin
g coal miners marched on Bucharest to protest mine closures and to demand a majo
r wage increase. The miners marched for five days until they dispersed after the
government deployed army and special police forces. Vasile also agreed to subst
antially increase wages and reopen some mines. Vasiles government collapsed in De

cember 1999 when several cabinet ministers withdrew their support for him and re
signed. Constantinescu then dismissed Vasile, but Vasile refused to go, claiming
the presidents action was illegal. However, intense political pressure led Vasil
e to resign, and Constantinescu named National Bank governor Mugur Isarescu to s
ucceed him.
In parliamentary elections in November 2000 the PSDR won the greates
t number of seats (but not a majority). In presidential elections in the same mo
nth Iliescu finished first, with 37 percent of the vote, and Corneliu Vadim Tudo
r, leader of the far-right Greater Romania Party, came in second. Iliescu won th
e runoff election in December, garnering 67 percent of the votes cast. The PSDR
decided to form a minority government, rather than trying to put together a coal
ition cabinet. Adrian Nastase, first vice president of the PSDR, was named prime
minister.