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  1. Romania Main Page
  2. Attempting Post-Communist Government
  3. Government in Turmoil
  4. Protests Demand New Government
  5. Basescu Faces Second Referendum
  6. Iohannis Becomes President in Election Shocker
  7. Ponta Resigns after Nightclub Fire Protests
Attempting Post-Communist Government

An ex-Communist, Ion Iliescu of the National Salvation Front, served as president from 1990–1995. Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention Party was president from 1996–2000. The post-Communist governments' conflicted and halfhearted attempts to change to a free-market economy have been largely unrealized. Growing dissatisfaction with the government's inefficiencies and economic policies led to a wave of protests by workers, students, and others that peaked in 1997, and again in 1999. In 2000 former president Iliescu returned to power with a landslide victory, easily defeating a xenophobic nationalist opponent. Discrimination against the Magyars (ethnic Hungarians) and the Roma (Gypsies) continues, fueled by several ultranationalist political parties.

Romania joined NATO in 2004, and in 2005 the EU approved the entry of Romania in 2007. Final acceptance into the EU was based on a number of reforms, including increased law enforcement and environmental measures and the protection of the rights of the Roma minority.

In April 2007, Parliament voted to suspend President Traian Basescu, citing abuse of power. Tension had been growing between Basescu and the government of Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu. The president of the Senate, Nicolae Vacaroiu, was named acting president. In a May referendum, 74% of the electorate voted against impeaching Basescu, and he was reinstated as president. Observers saw the vote as an endorsement of Basescu's agenda of reform and rooting out corruption.

Following inconclusive general elections in November 2008, economist and former prime minister Theodor Stolojan was asked by President Basescu to form a new cabinet. On December 15, Stolojan withdrew from the race and Emil Boc was named prime minister.

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