Selecția Națională (Romanian for "The National Selection") is a song contest which takes place every year in Romania and decides who will represent Romania at the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest started in 1993, when Dida Drăgan took the title. The record for the most points ever given in the contest is held by the 1998 winner Mălina Olinescu, with 634 points. Since 2006, the jury points were replaced by a system combining the points attributed after the juries and tele-voting choices are made into points 1 to 8 and then 10 and 12. The winner can finish with a total of 24 points at most, as if it would get the 12 points from both the jury and the voting. Over the years, the contest was held in various venues, from TV studios to concert halls, circuses, outdoors or even in a salt mine. The recurrent venue for the Selection is the Studio 3 of TVR. The most famous winners include Luminița Anghel, Mihai Trăistariu, Elena Gheorghe, Paula Seling or Mandinga.
TVR, the Romanian public broadcaster intended to join the Eurovision Song Contest starting with the 70s decade, but as it was a communist state, Romania wasn't able to enter the contest, despite their membership to the European Broadcasting Union. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, their first attempt to enter the contest was in 1992, after the 1990-1991 mineriads. They weren't allowed to enter as they didn't have necessary funds. Romania organized the first national selection in 1993, when eleven of over two-hundred submitted songs competed in the grand final of the first ever Selecția Națională. The election method was a jury made of ten juros. The winner was announced to be Dida Drăgan with the song "Nu pleca" (Don't leave). The next year, Dan Bittman won with the rock ballad "Dincolo de nori" (Beyond the clouds). After one-year interruption, he selection was once again organized in 1996, when Monica Anghel & Sincron failed to qualify for the Eurovision final. The contest was once again boycotted in 1997, but it has returned to the public's eyes in 1998 when Mălina Olinescu won the contest. The "every other year" concept was applied until 2002, when the selection started being organized yearly. In 2006, the points awarded by the juries have been replaced by a combination of points by both the juries and the tele-voters. Since then, choice differences occurred five times. The juries decided the winner in 2006, 2009 and 2011, with the tele-voters deciding the winner in 2007 and in 2012. There was a common winners in 2008 and 2010 solely. Since 2010, the two semi-finals before the grand final were abolished, so only 12 to 18 songs are now able to participate in the one-night contest, held on Saturdays.[needs update]