Romania emerged from one of the darkest periods in its history in December 1989, when Ceauşsescu's regime was overthrown, leaving Romania with a traumatized population and a devastated economy, and the gradual establishment of a democratic system of government during the last seven years has been painful and not without setbacks. The new institutional system established in Romania is semi‐presidential in the sense of the definition used in this book: it has a directly elected fixed‐term president alongside a prime minister who is responsible to parliament. The semi‐presidential system of government was established gradually, initially on the basis of the Electoral Law of 14 Mar 1990 and the rules of procedure of parliament adopted after the May 1990 elections. The institutional provisions of the Electoral Law and the rules of procedure of parliament subsequently formed the basis of the semi‐presidential system of government established under the new constitution, which was approved in a referendum in December 1991. It is important to note that there is no historical precedent for the establishment of a semi‐presidential system of government in Romania, and the inheritance of the whole period between independence (in 1878) and the fall of the Ceauşescu regime generally provides an unsuitable basis for the development of a democratic system of government. The chapter is divided into three main parts, organised according to the three factors identified by Duverger as determining for the leadership style in semi‐presidential systems: the events surrounding the formation of the system; the constitutional powers of the president, prime minister, and parliament; and the nature of the parliamentary majority and the relationship between the president and the majority.
Keywords: Ceauşescu, constitution, constitutional powers, democratic government, government, parliament, parliamentary majority, president, prime minister, Romania, semi‐presidentialism, transition to democracy
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