Emil Constantinescu

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Emil Constantinescu
Emil Constantinescu.jpg
3rd President of Romania
In office
29 November 1996 – 20 December 2000
Prime Minister Nicolae Văcăroiu
Victor Ciorbea
Gavril Dejeu (Acting)
Radu Vasile
Alexandru Athanasiu (Acting)
Mugur Isărescu
Preceded by Ion Iliescu
Succeeded by Ion Iliescu
Personal details
Born (1939-11-19) 19 November 1939 (age 77)
Tighina, Kingdom of Romania (present day de jure Moldova, de facto Transnistrian Moldovan Republic)
Nationality Romanian
Political party National Liberal Party (2008–present)
Other political
Romanian Communist Party (1965–1989)
CDR (1990–1996)
AP (2001–2008)
Spouse(s) Nadia Ileana Constantinescu
Children Dragos
Norina Boru
Profession Professor of Geology
Religion Romanian Orthodox

Emil Constantinescu (Romanian pronunciation: [eˈmil konstantiˈnesku]; 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. Beginning in 1966, Constantinescu taught in the Geology Faculty of the University of Bucharest.

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

In 1992 Constantinescu was elected president (rector) of the University of Bucharest, and became CDR's candidate for president of Romania. He lost the election to the incumbent, Ion Iliescu, after a second round. He remains, however, 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 (Fundatia Romana pentru Democratie www.frd.org.ro) and also the founding president of the Institute for Regional Cooperation and Conflict Prevention (INCOR).[2]

Constantinescu struggled with the slow implementation of the modernization and privatization process, which was bogged down by excessive bureaucracy. After another Mineriad in 1998, which ended with the arrest of Miron Cozma, his term suffered a political crisis between the majority parties. The country was further damaged by a drought in 2000. His term ended with little progress in economic privatization, as the state still controlled 80% of the economy.


Early life and career[edit]

Constantinescu was born in Tighina, 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 Pitești 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. Named a professor of geology and geography in Bucharest the following year, he later became the department's PCR cell leader for organization and propaganda. He taught geology until 1990, when he was named pro-rector of the university. He rose to the position of rector in 1992, and held it until 1996.[3]

After the presidency[edit]

Emil Constantinescu and Bill Clinton in Bucharest during the US president's 1997 visit

The CDR government's and Constantinescu's presidency were marred by an economic recession. Nevertheless, his presidency is now credited with ending the Mineriads, a reform of the banking system, and with attracting 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 that he would not run for a second term. 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 Acțiunea populară (People's Action) party, which eventually joined the merged into the National Liberal Party in 2008.[citation needed] Constantinescu has occasionally criticized the policies of the 2004–2009 president, Traian Băsescu, accusing him of authoritarian tendencies,[5] and supported Crin Antonescu in the first round of the 2009 presidential elections.[6]

He is a frequent speaker at the Oslo Freedom Forum and in 2010 presented the Oslo Freedom Forum with a presidential medal.[1] He is also a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[7]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". World Justice Project. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Emil Constantinescu". East West Institute. Retrieved 21 August 2015. 
  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. ^ (Romanian)La zece ani
  5. ^ (Romanian) Emil Constantinescu: Discursurile lui Băsescu sunt asemănătoare celor ale foştilor lideri totalitarişti
  6. ^ (Romanian) Emil, apel către intelectuali: Asumaţi-vă eşecul moral şi lepădaţi-vă de răul absolut care este Băsescu!
  7. ^ "International Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Iliescu si Constantinescu au primit Emblema de Onoare a Armatei" (in Romanian). Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Dostluk İlişkilerine Katkının Altın Sembolü: Devlet ve Cumhuriyet Nişanları (Turkish) – The Gold Symbol Contribution of Friendly Relations : State and Republic Orders". Haberler.com. February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "State Honours". Slovak-Republic.org. Slovak-Republic.org. Retrieved 2 September 2016. 


  • Ion Alexandrescu, Stan Stoica, România după 1989. Mică enciclopedie, Editura Meronia, București, 2005
  • Tom Gallagher, Furtul unei națiuni. România de la communism încoace, Editura Humanitas, București, 2004
  • Dan Pavel, Iulia Huia, "Nu putem reuși decît împreună." O istorie analitică a Convenției Democratice, 1989–2000, Editura Polirom, Iași, 2003