Constitution of Romania

Last updated
Constitution of Romania
Monitorul Oficial al Romaniei. Partea I 2003-10-31, nr. 767.pdf
The current version of the Constitution of Romania, as published in the Official Gazette of 31 October 2003, following the approval of amendments in a referendum on 18 October.
Created21 November 1991
Ratified 8 December 1991
Author(s) Antonie Iorgovan et al.
PurposeReplaced the Communist 1965 constitution
Coat of arms of Romania.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The current Constitution of Romania is the seventh permanent constitution in modern Romania's history. It is the fundamental governing document of Romania that establishes the structure of its government, the rights and obligations of citizens, and its mode of passing laws. It stands as the basis of the legitimacy of the Romanian government. Adopted on 21 November 1991, it was approved on 8 December 1991 in a national referendum and promulgated on the same day.


The constitution was amended once by a referendum on 18 October 2003. The new text took effect on 29 October 2003.


The Constitution of 1991, as revised in 2003, contains 156 articles, divided into 8 titles:


Regulamentul Organic , voted by the respective Assemblies of Moldavia and Wallachia under Imperial Russian occupation in 1831–1832, was the first organic law resembling a constitution ever awarded to the Danubian Principalities. [1] It remained in place until 1858, when the Crimean War removed the two countries from Russian influence and confirmed the rule by several European powers first established by the Treaty of Paris; [2] the Paris Convention of 1858 remained the governing document following the election of Alexandru Ioan Cuza as Domnitor (ruling prince) over the united countries (1859), but was replaced by Cuza's own organic law, entitled Statutul dezvoltător al Convenţiei de la Paris ("Statute expanding the Paris Convention"), in 1864. Although the newly minted state was nominally still a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, it only acknowledged the suzerainty of the Sublime Porte in a formal way.

The first constitution of the Romanian United Principalities was adopted 1 July 1866. It was retained after Romania became a kingdom in 1878. After the extension of national territory in 1918, a new constitution was approved 29 March 1923. It was repealed by King Carol II in 1938 and replaced with a corporatist/authoritarian document with the king's National Renaissance Front as the sole legal party. This document was, in turn, cancelled in 1940 by the National Legionary State government under Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Antonescu broke his alliance with the Guard in 1941, and ruled by decree until his overthrow in 1944. The 1923 constitution was reinstated pending the adoption of a new constitution (see Romania during World War II ).

The monarchy was abolished in 1947. In March 1948, the first constitution of Communist Romania was adopted; it was heavily modeled on the Soviet constitution. [3] Two other constitutions appeared during the Communist era, in 1952 and 1965 (the former "building socialism", the latter announcing the "socialism has won" [3] and notably making the change from a people's republic to a socialist republic ). Following the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989, much of the 1965 document was suspended, though portions remained in effect until the present document was adopted in 1991.

Initial version (1991)

The 1991 Constitution was composed by a committee of parliamentarians and constitutional law specialists; was approved by Parliament, meeting as a Constituent Assembly, by a vote of 414 to 95 on 21 November 1991, being published in Monitorul Oficial the same day; and was approved by referendum on 8 December 1991, with 77.3% voting in favour. The 1991 Constitution contains 7 titles and 152 articles. Romania is defined as a “national, sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible state”. The form of government is a republic, headed by a president who serves a five-year term and who is eligible for a second term. The president represents the Romanian state in domestic and foreign relations, ensures obedience to the constitution and the proper functioning of state institutions, and is the guarantor of the state's independence, unity and integrity. Parliament is “the supreme representative organ of the Romanian people and the sole lawmaking authority”; it is bicameral (Chamber of Deputies and Senate) and elected for four years. After the prime minister is named by the president, Parliament validates the composition and programme of the Government and can dismiss it following a motion of censure. The constitution provides for fundamental civic rights and freedoms, and creates the office of Romanian Ombudsman to ensure these are respected. [4]

First revision (2003)

A sign in front of Cercul Militar National counts down to the "complete professionalization" of the Romanian military, that is, the end of conscription (May 2006). Cercul Militar Nat 2.jpg
A sign in front of Cercul Militar Naţional counts down to the "complete professionalization" of the Romanian military, that is, the end of conscription (May 2006).

The 1991 Constitution was first amended in 2003. Articles were introduced on “Integration into the European Union” and “NATO Accession”, bringing the total to 156 in 8 titles. [5] These specified that both could take place by parliamentary vote alone, and that EU citizens living in Romania can vote and run in local elections. The revised constitution grants minorities the right to use their native language when dealing with local administration and the courts, improves the functioning of the legislative chambers (better specifying their attributes) and restricts the privilege of parliamentary immunity to political declarations, extends the president's term to five years, explicitly “guarantees” rather than “protects” the right to private property and removes the constitutional obligation for conscription (which ended in 2006). [4] The revised document was adopted by referendum on 18–19 October 2003; turnout was slightly above the 50%+1 threshold needed for it to be valid, with 55.7% of 17,842,103 eligible voters showing up. The opposition [6] and NGOs [7] alleged serious irregularities. 89.70% voted yes and 8.81%, no. It came into force ten days later.

Proposed second revision

The issue of constitutional reform was raised repeatedly in the early 2010s, especially after a major political crisis in the second half of 2012. The ruling coalition at the time, the Social Liberal Union, claimed that insufficient constitutional constraints led then-incumbent President Traian Băsescu to abuse his presidential powers, thus justifying new amendments. A public debate began in 2013 and a Parliamentary Commission for the Revision of the Constitution was established. However, the reform project stalled as the Social Liberal Union dissolved in early 2014 and Băsescu ended his term later that year. [8]

Băsescu's successor, Klaus Iohannis, expressed support for a second revision of the Constitution, as did Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who stated that such a revision should be a political priority in 2015, as there are no elections scheduled in Romania that year. [9] [10] On 18 January 2015, the vice-president of the Parliamentary Commission, Valeria Schelean, requested the immediate convocation of the commission to begin working on amendments. [11]

2018 referendum

On 6 and 7 October 2018 a referendum took place regarding the definition of the family as provided by Article 48 of the Constitution (that defines the family as being founded on the free-willed marriage "between spouses"), to prohibit same-sex marriage. The referendum failed as the turnout was only 21.1%, below the required voter turnout threshold of 30%.

See also

Former constitutions


  1. Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre, Ed. Pentru Literatură, Bucharest, 1966, p. 123. (in Romanian)
  2. Stevan K. Pavlowitch, Istoria Balcanilor, Polirom, Iași, 2002 (translation of the English-language edition A History of The Balkans 1804–1945, Addison Wesley Longman Ltd., 1999), p. 56.
  3. 1 2 Mihaela Cristina Verzea, "Constituția RPR din 27 septembrie 1952" ("1952: The Constitution of People's Republic of Romania"), Dosarele Istoriei, 8/2003, pp. 22-26
  4. 1 2 Stoica
  5. "Constitute". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  6. Mirela Luca, “Opoziția acuză ca referendumul pentru Constituție a fost fraudat” (“The Opposition Charges that the Constitutional Referendum was Rigged”) [ permanent dead link ], Ziarul Financiar, October 21, 2003.
  7. “Grave incalcări ale legii și nereguli organizatorice, produse la scară națională, cu ocazia referendumului din 18 - 19 octombrie” (“Serious violations of the law and organisational irregularities, produced on a nationwide scale, on the occasion of the referendum of 18 - 19 October 2003”) Archived 25 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Mai este oportună revizuirea Constituției?" . Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  9. "Ponta: Modificarea Constituției trebuie să devină o prioritate în 2015, an fără presiuni electorale" . Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  10. "Klaus Iohannis: Revizuirea Constituției trebuie făcută în perioada următoare. Sunt și texte care au permis interpretări forțate" . Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  11. "Vicepreședintele comisiei pentru revizuirea Constituției Valeria Schelean(PNL) cere convocarea rapidă a lucrărilor comisiei" . Retrieved 22 January 2015.

Related Research Articles

President of Romania Head of state

The president of Romania is the head of state of Romania. Following a modification to the Romanian Constitution in 2003, the president is directly elected by a two-round system and serves for five years. An individual may serve two terms. During their term in office, the president may not be a formal member of a political party.

Traian Băsescu Romanian politician, 4th President of Romania

Traian Băsescu is a Romanian politician who served as President of Romania from 2004 to 2014.

Romania does not allow same-sex marriage or civil unions, though it does recognise the right of residence of same-sex married couples if one partner is an EU citizen. As a result of a ruling of the European Court of Justice in June 2018, same-sex married partners of EU citizens must be recognised for the purpose of establishing a right of residency in Romania.

Senate of Romania

The Senate is the upper house in the bicameral Parliament of Romania. It has 136 seats, to which members are elected by direct popular vote using party-list proportional representation in 43 electoral districts, to serve four-year terms.

Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu

Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu is a Romanian historian, politician and former Prime Minister of Romania. He was the foreign minister of Romania from 28 December 2004 to 12 March 2007, and he was appointed as Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service later in 2007. Following the resignation of the Emil Boc government he was appointed Prime Minister serving through April 2012 when his cabinet was dismissed following a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. He was confirmed by the Parliament for a second term as Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, after President Klaus Iohannis nominated him in June 2015 but he resigned in September 2016, citing health issues.

Klaus Iohannis Romanian politician; President of Romania (2014-present)

Klaus Werner Iohannis is the president of Romania. He became leader of the National Liberal Party (PNL) in 2014, after having served as leader of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (DFDR/FDGR) from 2002 to 2013. Iohannis was a physics teacher and a school inspector before entering full-time politics.

Parliament of Romania

The Parliament of Romania is the national legislature of Romania, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies, and the Senate (Senat). It meets at the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest.

2009 Romanian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Romania in 2009. The first round took place on 22 November, with a run-off round between the top two candidates Traian Băsescu and Mircea Geoană on 6 December 2009. Although most exit polls suggested a win for Geoană in the runoff, the authorities declared Băsescu the narrow victor with 50.33% of the votes. To date, it is the closest election in Romanian history.

2007 Romanian presidential impeachment referendum

The Romanian presidential impeachment referendum of 2007 was conducted in order to determine whether the president of Romania Traian Băsescu should be forced to step down.

2007 Romanian electoral system referendum

A referendum on changing the electoral system to a two-round system was held in Romania on 25 November 2007, on the same date as the election to the European Parliament. The referendum was called by President Traian Băsescu on 23 October 2007 when the Parliament of Romania failed to meet a deadline set by him to pass these changes.

Victor Ponta Prime minister of Romania 2012-2015

Victor Viorel Ponta is a Romanian jurist and politician, who served as Prime Minister of Romania between his appointment by President Traian Băsescu in May 2012 and his resignation in November 2015. A former member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and its leader from 2010 to 2015, he was also joint leader (2012–2014) of the then-governing Social Liberal Union (USL), an alliance with the National Liberal Party (PNL). Ponta was a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Gorj County from 2004 to 2020. In the Emil Boc cabinet, he was Minister-Delegate for Relations with Parliament from 2008 to 2009.

Lucian Croitoru is a Romanian economist. On October 15, 2009, following the defeat of Emil Boc's government through a motion of no confidence, President Traian Băsescu nominated Croitoru to be Prime Minister of Romania. The nomination was opposed by a majority of Parliament, which adopted a declaration asking for his withdrawal, and vowing support for the candidature of Klaus Iohannis. Croitoru assembled a proposed cabinet, but this was voted down by Parliament on November 4.

Commission for constitutional reform in Moldova

The Commission for constitutional reform is a commission instituted in Moldova by acting President Mihai Ghimpu to adopt a new version of the Constitution of Moldova (1994).

2012 Romanian presidential impeachment referendum

A referendum on impeaching President Traian Băsescu was held in Romania on 29 July 2012. The referendum was required after Parliament voted in favour of impeaching Băsescu on 6 July, and had to take place within a month. It was the second referendum on impeaching Băsescu, the first having been held in May 2007, in which 74% of voters chose to keep him in office. Băsescu was later narrowly re-elected in 2009.

2015 Romanian constitutional referendum

A constitutional referendum was scheduled to take place in Romania at the end of 2015. The Constitution amended by USL lawmakers received some criticism, mostly from the opposition party PDL backed by outgoing President Traian Băsescu, who expressed his discontent with some articles that reduce the powers he enjoyed while in office and eliminate the President from the executive power system.

2012–2015 unrest in Romania Protests against civil unfairity

The 2012–2015 unrest in Romania refers to a prolonged period of civil unrest and political scandals in Romania, which took magnitude after the second half of the 2000s. The wave of civil demonstrations started in January 2012, once with the introduction of a new health reform legislation. The protests were fueled by the austerity measures applied in May 2010, but also by the unpopularity of Băsescu-backed Boc government. The demonstrations were characterized by widespread rioting and acts of vandalism. The political situation precipitated, so Prime Minister Emil Boc decided to step down on 6 February 2012.

Coaliția pentru Familie

Coaliția pentru Familie is an association of about 30 Romanian non-governmental organizations. It seeks to promote the traditional family, in particular by amending the Constitution of Romania to define marriage as "the union between a man and a woman, a process that will have no juridical effect whatsoever, being just a waste of energy and money". It is also involved in the anti-abortion movement.

Save Romania Union

The Save Romania Union is a liberal progressive political party in Romania. The party was founded following the success of the Save Bucharest Union (USB) party in the 2016 local elections. After being officially registered as a political party in 2016, it united with the local USB and Union for Codlea parties, thus gaining most of its initial membership base from the two latter parties. It is currently the third largest political party in the Romanian Parliament after the 2016 legislative elections and runs on an anti-corruption platform.

A referendum took place in Romania on 6 and 7 October 2018 regarding the definition of the family in the Romanian Constitution. The referendum asked voters whether or not they approve a change to the family's definition as provided by Article 48 of the Constitution, to prohibit same-sex marriage.

A consultative referendum took place in Romania on 26 May 2019, on the same day as the European Parliament elections, about whether to prohibit amnesties and pardons for corruption offences, as well as whether to prohibit the Government from passing emergency ordinances concerning the judiciary and to extend the right to appeal against them to the Constitutional Court. Both proposals were approved by wide margins.