Romania is a constitutional democracy with a multiparty, bicameral parliamentary system. The Prime Minister is the head of government and President is the head of state.
Following World War II, Romania stepped into the communist age. In December 1947 King Mihai I was forced to abdicate and the People's Republic was proclaimed. After 1965 the party and state leadership was monopolized by Nicolae Ceausescu. The people's revolt of December 1989 led to the collapse of communism in Romania and the overthrowing of Ceausescu.
The first free parliamentary and presidential elections were held in May 1990 and September 1992. The Parliament elected in 1990 adopted a new Constitution on 21 November 1991.
Romania is divided into 40 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority in a county. The central government appoints a prefect for each county and Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level.
The Constitution provides for a President, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts, including a Supreme Court.
The President is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two four-year terms. The President is the Chief of State and the Supreme Commander of the Armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. The President nominates the Prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.
The Parliament of Romania has a bicameral structure and is formed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are elected at the same time from 41 multi-member constituencies, by universal and direct suffrage and according to the principle of proportional representation. Deputies and senators are elected for four-year terms. The Chamber of Deputies is composed of 345 deputies and the Senate of 140 senators. They wield equal powers. The main functions of the Parliament of Romania are to pass laws, to appoint and revoke some state authorities, and to exercise the parliamentary control.
The legislative initiative belongs to the government, to deputies and senators as well as to a number of at least 250,000 citizens entitled to vote. Fiscal issues, international questions, amnesty, and pardon may not form the object of the citizens' legislative initiative.
The procedure for the adoption of laws is the same in both Chambers of Parliament. The main stages of the legislative procedure include the legislative initiative, examination in parliamentary committees, debate in the plenum of the Chamber, voting, mediation, control of the constitutionality, and promulgation of the law.
Draft bills or proposals for the revision of the Constitution are adopted by a majority of at least two thirds of the number of members of each Chamber. Drafts of organic laws are passed by the vote of a majority of the members of each Chamber. Ordinary draft bills are passed by the vote of a majority of the members present in each Chamber.
If the draft bill or legislative proposal has been adopted, it is signed by the president of the Chamber and sent for debate to the other Chamber of Parliament. A draft bill or legislative proposal adopted by one Chamber and rejected by the other is sent to the Chamber, which rejected it for a new debate. A new rejection is final.
The laws adopted by the two Chambers of Parliament (with identical texts) are sent for promulgation to the President of Romania. Before promulgation, the President may ask Parliament to re-examine the law. If, after re-examining the law, both Chambers adopt or reject the objections of the President, the President is obliged to proceed to the promulgation. The law comes into force on the day of its publication in the Monitorul Oficial (Official Gazette of Romania), or at the date provided in its text, which date may not be previous to the publication.
All judges, including members of the Supreme Court, are appointed by the President upon the proposal of the Superior Council of Magistrates, following the recommendation of the Minister of Justice. They are appointed for life, with the exception of the justices of the Supreme Court who are appointed to six-year terms with the possibility of renewal.
In each of Romania's 40 counties and in the special district of Bucharest there is a district court, or court of first instance. The country has also 15 appellate courts, in which appeals against rulings passed by local courts are heard; there is a right of appeal from the appellate courts to the Supreme Court, which is Romania's highest judicial authority. In addition, areas of jurisdiction fall under a separate system of military courts, which rulings may be appealed in last resort to the Supreme Court.
The Procurator-general is the highest judicial office in Romania, and is responsible to the National Assembly, which appoints him or her for a four-year term. Despite an 1997 amendment to the law on the Judiciary, the distinction between judge and prosecutor is not clearly established in law.
The revision of the Constitution may be initiated by the President of Romania, at the proposal of the government, or of at least one quarter of the number of deputies or of the senators, or of at least 500,000 citizens entitled to vote.
The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws (but laws promulgated before 1991 may be reviewed for constitutionality by the regular courts), and decides on appeals from the regular court system concerning the unconstitutionality of laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for a non-renewable term of nine years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the President.
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