Romania is a Republic organized according to the principle of separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers, within the frame of a constitutional democracy.
The Parliament of Romania is the supreme representative body and the sole legislative authority of Romania. Parliament is bicameral, being composed of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. Unlike the bicameral parliaments of other countries, the difference between the duties of the two chambers of the Romanian Parliament is not significant, and a law needs to be voted by both chambers in order to be enacted.
The members of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate are elected by mixed uninominal, universal, direct and secret vote. The electoral system is proportional (members of the Parliament are elected from all the parties that achieve the electoral threshold of 5% of all votes cast, based on an algorithm for the 42 constituencies corresponding to the 41 counties and Bucharest municipality). Elections are held every 4 years; the latest elections were on 6 December 2020.
In accordance with the Constitution of Romania, the Parliament passes constitutional laws, organic laws and ordinary laws.
The Parliament together with the Government also have a right of legislative initiative.
The Palace of the Parliament has been the seat of the Chamber of Deputies since 1994 and also the seat of the Senate since 2004.
The President is the head of state in Romania. The role of the President is to represent the Romanian state in international relations; in accordance with the Constitution, the President is the warrantor of national independence, watches over the compliance with the Constitution and the good working of public authorities, acts as a mediator between the state powers, as well as between the state and society. Furthermore, the President is the commander of armed forces and holds the position of president of the Supreme Country Defence Council.
The President of Romania is elected by universal, equal, direct, secret and freely expressed vote of its citizens, in a majority voting system, in two ballots. The mandate of the President is for five years after the amendments brought to the Constitution in 2003, and the maximum number of mandates is two.
The President appoints the Prime Minister.
The head of state resides at Cotroceni Palace, a historical place, with a dwelling tradition going back to more than four hundred years ago. On this spot, situated in the west of Bucharest, on the right shore of the river Dâmbovita, up on the Cotroceni Hill, the ruler Șerban Cantacuzino built a monastery between 1679 and 1681. The Cotroceni complex has continuously kept its function as a religious place and a court for sovereigns. This complex is also the seat of the Presidential Administration.
The Presidential Administration is an institution at the disposal of the President of Romania for accomplishing constitutional prerogatives and duties. This institution provides logistic, organisational, protocol and administration support to the President and for current presidential activities. It is organised in chancelleries, departments and compartments, which handle the President’s agenda, draw up various papers and documents pertaining to the President’s responsibility and duties, analyse the constitutionality of laws before being enacted, maintain the relations with public authorities and domestic and international entities, organise the relations with the media and the public, handle the protocol and administration activities, ensure and handle activities related to registry, the archive fund, human resources, materials and financial matters, etc.
The Government of Romania is the public authority of the executive power, working based on a vote of confidence given by the Parliament and conducting the country’s internal and external policies and exercising the overall governance of public administration.
The Government is appointed by the President of Romania based on a vote of confidence given by the Parliament.
The Government is composed of a Prime Minister and ministers. The Prime Minister is the head of the Government and coordinates the activity of its members, while observing their legal duties. The Government also adopts decisions and, where empowered by the Parliament, decrees.
The Government carries out its duties at Victoria Palace, located in Piața Victoriei, Bucharest, which was erected in 1937 and completed in 1944. Because of the damage caused by the bombardment in 1944, construction works were resumed and completed in 1952. Initially designed for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Victoria Palace was the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Council of Ministers during the communist period and became, in 1990, the seat of the first post-communist government of Romania. In 2004, Victoria Palace was put on the list of historical monuments.
Central public administration
In Romania, specialised central public administration includes:
the ministries, which are subordinated only to the Government;
other specialised bodies, which may be subordinated to the Government or to ministries or may be autonomous administrative authorities (e.g. Presidency, Senate, Government, National Agency of Public Servants etc).
In 2022 the Government of Romania had a number of 20 ministries assigned to important societal areas: labour, health, education, culture, economy, energy, finances, investment and European projects, etc.
Regional public administration
Administratively and territorially, Romania is organised in 41 counties. Its capital, Bucharest, is the 42nd administrative-territorial unit. The functioning of the administrative-territorial units is based on the principle of decentralisation and autonomy. In those administrative-territorial units where the population of national minorities is significant in numbers, the Constitution grants a right to use national minority languages in public administration.
Regional public administration is composed of county councils that are elected for a 4-year period and coordinate the activities of local councils in connection with public services of interest at county level.
A prefect is appointed by the Government in each county and in Bucharest. The prefect is the representative of the Government in the territory and coordinates the decentralised services of ministries and other authorities of central public administration at county level. There are no subordination relations between the prefects and the presidents of county councils or the presidents of local counties (the mayors).
To ensure a balanced regional development and to make the best use of social and economic potential, 8 development regions have been established, each comprising several counties. The development regions are set up as free associations of neighbouring counties. They are not established as administrative-territorial units and are not legal entities.
As part of public services, education and training are coordinated by the county school inspectorates and Bucharest School Inspectorate respectively. The school inspectorates have specific duties related to the development of education at regional level.