Viorel Hrebenciuc (Romanian pronunciation: [vi.oˈrel hrebenˈt͡ʃjuk]; born August 7, 1953) is a Romanian statistician and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), he was a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bacău County from 1996 to 2014.
He was born in Siminicea, Suceava County, and from 1973 to 1977, attended the Economic Cybernetics and Statistics Faculty of the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. From 1977 to 1980, he directed organisational planning at a Bacău firm. From 1980 to 1982, he was specialty inspector at the Bacău County Statistical Directorate, holding the same position at the Bacău County Council from 1982 to 1989. In 1979, the Bacău city-level Romanian Communist Party organisation recruited him as an economic affairs activist. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to the county level, and remained in the role until 1989. Entering democratic politics following the Romanian Revolution of 1989, he served as Mayor of Bacău in 1990 and as Prefect of Bacău County from 1990 to 1992. From that year until 1996, he was secretary general of the Romanian government. Entering the Chamber in 1996, he has sat on the following committees: human rights, religious affairs and national minorities (1996–2000); European integration (2002–2006; president from 2003); and European affairs (2004-; president), also heading a joint committee for drafting new election laws (2003–2004). He was vice president of the Chamber from 2000 to 2004, and led the PSD group there from 2000 to 2010, except in 2004-2005, when he was deputy leader. He again became vice president in 2012, continuing after the December election. In autumn 2014, the National Anticorruption Directorate charged Hrebenciuc in two cases: one involved corruption targeting forested land, while another alleged influence peddling with party colleague Dan Șova. The charges prompted him to resign from the Chamber and thus lose his parliamentary immunity.
Hrebenciuc was prominent within his party, with a reputation as an éminence grise, a negotiator, a creator of intrigues and instigator of personal attacks in the media. One consistent theme during the Presidency of Traian Băsescu was his feud with the head of state, described as Hrebenciuc's "mortal enemy". He actively participated in the unsuccessful 2007 referendum campaign to impeach Băsescu; during the same period, his son Andrei was dating Băsescu's daughter Elena. The relationship drew comparisons to the story of Romeo and Juliet, occurring as it did while the President called Hrebenciuc a "rose-coloured rat" and mentioned his "profound contempt" for the latter due to his behaviour in politics. He helped create the 2007-2008 alliance between the PSD and the National Liberal Party after the latter had left the Băsescu-supported Justice and Truth Alliance, and with the same party unsuccessfully pushed for Băsescu to appoint Klaus Iohannis as Prime Minister in 2009. He also headed the campaign of Mircea Geoană to unseat Băsescu later that year, a race Geoană narrowly lost, and led an effort to claim the election had been marred by fraud. At one point before the election, he alleged that "everyone" knows Băsescu to be an alcoholic. In turn, Băsescu has criticised Hrebenciuc, labelling him "oligarch", "mafioso" and "string-puller" and contrasting him with himself. During their campaigns, Băsescu and the Democratic Liberal Party that backs him have mentioned Hrebenciuc alongside the moguls Sorin Ovidiu Vântu and Dan Voiculescu and the controversial mayor Marian Vanghelie. When Iohannis was being promoted as a potential Prime Minister, Băsescu promised he would nominate someone independent of his predecessor Ion Iliescu, Hrebenciuc, Voiculescu and Vântu.
- (Romanian) Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) Olimpia Filip, "Traseul lui Viorel 'Haşul' Hrebenciuc" ("The Path of Viorel 'The H' Hrebenciuc"), Adevărul, 19 October 2014; accessed October 24, 2014
- (Romanian) 1996-2000 parliamentary profile; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) 2000-2004 parliamentary profile; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) 2004-2008 parliamentary profile; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) 2008-2012 parliamentary profile; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) "Ponta: 'Hrebenciuc nu va mai fi liderul deputaţilor PSD'" ("Ponta: 'Hrebenciuc Will No Longer Lead PSD Deputies'"), Evenimentul Zilei, 15 July 2010; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) "Viorel Hrebenciuc, vicepreşedinte al Camerei Deputaţilor" ("Viorel Hrebenciuc, Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies"), Evenimentul Zilei, 22 May 2012; accessed May 22, 2010
- (Romanian) 2012- Parliamentary profile; retrieved July 23, 2013
- (Romanian) Virgil Burlă, "Hrebenciuc și Șova sunt acuzați de trafic de influență" ("Hrebenciuc and Șova Accused of Influence Peddling"), Evenimentul Zilei, 20 October 2014; accessed October 21, 2014
- (Romanian) Mădălina Mihalache, "Viorel Hrebenciuc a demisionat din Parlament" ("Viorel Hrebenciuc Resigns from Parliament"), Adevărul, 21 October 2014; accessed October 21, 2014
- (Romanian) Alexandra-Livia Dordea, Vlad Stoicescu, "Regizorul Hrebenciuc şi Oscarurile politicii româneşti" ("Director Hrebenciuc and the Oscars of Romanian Politics"), Evenimentul Zilei, 14 February 2009; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) "Hrebenciuc îşi construieşte scut anti-Băsescu" ("Hrebenciuc Builds anti-Băsescu Shield"), Evenimentul Zilei, 6 July 2007; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) "Elena Băsescu şi Andrei Hrebenciuc, dragoste la nivel înalt" ("Elena Băsescu and Andrei Hrebenciuc, High-Level Love"), Evenimentul Zilei, 28 June 2007; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) Dan Duca, "Elena Băsescu: 'M-am despărţit definitiv de Andrei Hrebenciuc'" ("Elena Băsescu: 'I've Broken up for Good with Andrei Hrebenciuc'"), Cotidianul, 25 January 2008; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) Elena Vijulie, "Hrebenciuc: 'Eu rămân eminenţa cenuşie a PSD. N-am murit!'" ("Hrebenciuc: 'I Remain the PSD's Eminence Grise. I Have Not Died!'"), România liberă, 16 July 2010; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) Florin Ciornei, "Viorel Hrebenciuc se pregăteşte să strige: 'Hoţii!'" ("Viorel Hrebenciuc Prepares to Shout: 'Thieves!'"), Evenimentul Zilei, 20 November 2009; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) Roxana Preda, "Hrebenciuc recidivează: O ţară întreagă ştie că Băsescu e alcoolic" ("Hrebenciuc Reiterates: An Entire Country Knows that Băsescu Is an Alcoholic"), Evenimentul Zilei, 29 September 2009; accessed August 22, 2010
- (Romanian) "Băsescu: Voi desemna un premier independent de Iliescu-Hrebenciuc" ("Băsescu: I Will Name a Premier Independent of Iliescu-Hrebenciuc"), Evenimentul Zilei, 4 November 2009; accessed August 22, 2010