Emil Constantinescu
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Emil Constantinescu

Emil Constantinescu
Emil Constantinescu.jpg
3rd President of Romania

29 November 1996 - 20 December 2000
Nicolae V?c?roiu
Victor Ciorbea
Gavril Dejeu (Acting)
Radu Vasile
Alexandru Athanasiu (Acting)
Mugur Is?rescu
Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu
Personal details
Born (1939-11-19) 19 November 1939 (age 80)
Tighina, Kingdom of Romania (present day de jure Moldova, de facto Transnistrian Moldovan Republic)
Political partyNational Liberal Party (2008-present)
Other political
Romanian Communist Party (1965-1989)
Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (1990-1996)
Independent (1996-2000, PN?CD membership suspended while president)
People's Action (2001-2008)
Spouse(s)Nadia Ileana Constantinescu
Norina Boru
ProfessionProfessor of Geology

Emil Constantinescu (Romanian pronunciation: [e'mil konstanti'nesku] ; born 19 November 1939) is a Romanian professor and politician, who served as the third President of Romania, from 1996 to 2000.

Constantinescu first graduated from the Faculty of Law and then the Faculty of Geology and Geophysics of the University of Bucharest,[1] and subsequently started a career as a geologist. He has doctorates: in Geology from the University of Bucharest and Sciences from Duke University, USA. Beginning in 1966, Constantinescu taught in the Geology Department of the University of Bucharest.

After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, Constantinescu became a founding member and vice president of the Civic Alliance. He was the acting chairman of the Democratic Romanian Anti-Totalitarian Forum, the first associative structure of the opposition in Romania, which was later transformed into a centre-right political and electoral alliance known as the Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR).[2]


Early life and career

Constantinescu was born in Tighina (present-day Transnistria situated in de jure Republic of Moldova) in 1939, where his parents were temporarily living. He received three degrees from the University of Bucharest: in law (1960), geology (1966), and a doctorate in geology and geography (1979). He practiced law in Pite?ti in 1961-1962, but switched his focus to geology after deciding that a legal career would involve too many compromises.

However, along with many other intellectuals, he joined the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) in 1965, hoping to foster change from within. Subsequently, he was also named Professor of geology and geography at the University of Bucharest the following year. He taught geology there until 1990, when he was named pro-rector of the university. He rose to the position of rector (president) in 1992 and had been holding it until 1996.[3] After the fall of Communism, he joined the revived Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PN?CD).

The same year he was elected rector, the CDR, of which the PN?CD was a member, nominated him as its candidate for President of Romania. He lost the election to then incumbent Ion Iliescu after the second round. In 1996, he competed once again for the presidency as the CDR's candidate and managed to defeat Iliescu in the second round, securing a victory by a margin of roughly 10%. CDR's success in the 1996 general elections marked the first peaceful transition of power in post-1989 Romania. On the day he took office, he suspended his membership in the PN?CD, as the Constitution precludes a president holding formal membership of a political party during his tenure.

Nonetheless, throughout his four-year term, Constantinescu struggled with the slow implementation of the processes of modernization and privatization, which were bogged down by excessive bureaucracy. After another Mineriad which took place in 1999 and ended with the arrest of Miron Cozma, the remainder of his term suffered a political crisis between the majority parties that, at the time, formed the governing coalition. The country was further damaged by a drought in 2000. At the end of his term, he decided not to run for re-election.

After the presidency

Emil Constantinescu and Bill Clinton in Bucharest during the American President's 1997 visit to the Romanian capital.

Constantinescu's presidency along with CDR's governing were marred by an economic recession. Despite this, his presidency is now credited with putting an end to the Mineriads, a reform of the banking system, as well as with the attraction of the first major foreign investments in Romania. With dashed expectations of an immediate improvement in daily life, Romanians exhibited strong disillusionment with the major parties and politicians, with the Greater Romania Party gaining the second place in the 2000 elections.[4]

A disenchanted Emil Constantinescu, who lost popularity and had failed to fulfill his reformist agenda announced on 17 July 2000 that he would not run for a second term.[5] He temporarily withdrew from political life at the end of his term in November 2000. Constantinescu's direction in foreign affairs continued however after the comeback of Ion Iliescu in 2000. Eventually, Romania joined NATO in 2004.

The former President returned to the political scene in 2002 as head of the People's Action (Ac?iunea Popular?) party, which subsequently merged within the National Liberal Party in 2008.[6]

Constantinescu has occasionally criticized the policies of the 2004-2009 president, Traian B?sescu, accusing him of authoritarian tendencies,[7] and supported Crin Antonescu in the first round of the 2009 presidential elections.[8]

Nowadays, he still remains heavily involved in politics through working for many NGOs, both in Romania and internationally. Emil Constantinescu is the current president of the Association of Citizenship Education, of the Romanian Foundation for Democracy[9] and also the founding president of the Institute for Regional Cooperation and Conflict Prevention (INCOR).[10]

A frequent speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum, in 2010 he presented the OFF with a presidential medal.[11] He is also a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[12]

Honours and awards

National honours

Foreign honours

Electoral history

Presidential elections

Election Affiliation First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1992 CDR 3,717,006
 2nd  4,641,207
1996 CDR 3,569,941
 2nd  7,057,906

External links


  1. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". World Justice Project. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ Rafto.no. "Doina Cornea".
  3. ^ Robert Forrest, "Constantinescu, Emil (1939-)", in Bernard A. Cook (ed.), Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p.221. Taylor & Francis, 2001, ISBN 978-0-8153-4057-7
  4. ^ (in Romanian) La zece ani
  5. ^ (in Romanian) Declara?ie Emil Constantinescu (iulie 2000)
  6. ^ (in Romanian) Ac?iunea Popular? accept? fuziunea cu PNL (HotNews.ro, March 12, 2008)
  7. ^ (in Romanian) Emil Constantinescu: Discursurile lui B?sescu sunt asem?n?toare celor ale fo?tilor lideri totalitari?ti
  8. ^ (in Romanian) Emil, apel c?tre intelectuali: Asuma?i-v? e?ecul moral ?i lep?da?i-v? de r?ul absolut care este B?sescu!
  9. ^ Funda?ia Român? pentru Democra?ie
  10. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". East West Institute. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ Oslo Freedom Forum
  12. ^ Emil Constantinescu | Speakers | Oslo Freedom Forum
  13. ^ "Iliescu si Constantinescu au primit Emblema de Onoare a Armatei" (in Romanian). Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ Aufstellung aller durch den Bundespräsidenten verliehenen Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich ab 1952 (PDF)
  15. ^ "Dostluk ?li?kilerine Katk?n?n Alt?n Sembolü: Devlet ve Cumhuriyet Ni?anlar? (Turkish) - The Gold Symbol Contribution of Friendly Relations : State and Republic Orders". Haberler.com. February 2013. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". kongehuset.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ "State Honours". Slovak-Republic.org. Slovak-Republic.org. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "Odluka o odlikovanju Njegove Ekscelencije dr. Emila Constantinescua". Narodne novine (in Croatian). 16 June 2000. Retrieved 2008.
  19. ^ "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Presidência da República Portuguesa. Retrieved 2016. Resultado da busca de "Emil Constantinescu".


  • Ion Alexandrescu, Stan Stoica, România dup? 1989. Mic? enciclopedie, Editura Meronia, Bucure?ti, 2005
  • Tom Gallagher, Furtul unei na?iuni. România de la communism încoace, Editura Humanitas, Bucure?ti, 2004
  • Dan Pavel, Iulia Huia, "Nu putem reu?i decît împreun?." O istorie analitic? a Conven?iei Democratice, 1989-2000, Editura Polirom, Ia?i, 2003

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