Senate of Romania

Social Democratic Party (Romania) National Liberal Party (Romania) Democratic Liberal Party (Romania)


7th Legislature
Coat of arms or logo
Robert Cazanciuc (PSD) (acting)
Senate of Romania, 2016-2020.svg
Political groups
Government (31)[1]
  •      PNL (31)

Confidence and supply (18)

Opposition (87)

1992–2008; 2016–present: Closed list, D'Hondt method
2008–2016: nominal vote, Mixed member proportional representation
Last election
11 December 2016
Meeting place
Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest

The Senate (Romanian: Senat) is the upper house in the bicameral Parliament of Romania. It has 136 seats (before the 2016 Romanian legislative election the number was 176[2]), to which members are elected by direct popular vote using party-list proportional representation[2] in 43 electoral districts (the 41 counties, the city of Bucharest plus 1 constituency for the Romanians living abroad), to serve four-year terms.


First Senate, 1859 to 1944

The parliamentary history of Romania is seen as beginning in May 1831 in Wallachia, where a constitution called Regulamentul Organic ("Organic Statute") was promulgated by the Russian Empire and adopted. In January 1832 it came into force in Moldavia also. This laid the foundations for the parliamentary institution in the two Romanian principalities. At the Congress of Paris of 1856, Russia gave up to Moldavia the left bank of the mouth of the Danube, including part of Bessarabia, and also gave up its claim to be the protector of Christians in the Ottoman Empire. Moldavia and Wallachia, while remaining under the suzerainty of the Ottomans, were recognized as quasi-independent self-governing principalities under the protection of the other European Powers.

The Paris Convention of 19 August 1858 promulgated Statutul Dezvoltător ("Expanding Statute"), to introduce a bicameral parliament, with an upper house named in Romanian Corpul Ponderator ("Moderating Body"). This was later renamed the Senat. A formal Union of the two principalities came in 1859. On the initiative of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, a plebiscite in 1864 enlarged the principle of national representation.[3]

The 1866 Constitution of Romania proclaimed constitutional monarchy as Romania's form of government, on the basis of national sovereignty and the separation of powers. Legislative power was to be exercised by the new Prince (Carol I of Romania) and a bi-cameral parliament, with an Assembly of Deputies and a Senate.

On 9 May 1877, the Declaration of Romania's independence was read under the dome of the Romanian Parliament.

The 1923 Constitution, approved by both houses of parliament in May 1923, again entrusted legislative power to the Senate, the Assembly of Deputies, and the King. The constitution instituted the membership by right (senator de drept) in the Senate for:

Additionally, the Senate included an elective element, chosen by corporatist electoral colleges, including the chambers of commerce, industry, and agriculture, as well as university professors.

In February 1938, amid the political crisis which soon led to the Second World War, King Carol II imposed a more authoritarian monarchy. Under the Constitution of 1938, Parliament lost some of its main powers. The Senate was to be composed of members appointed by the King, members by right, and members elected in single-member electoral areas, in the same manner as Assembly members. The proportion of appointed and elected members was to be equal, while senators by right still had to meet the conditions set out in the 1923 Constitution.

1940–1944: suspension and abolition

In September 1940, after the abdication of King Carol, the National Legionary State suspended the parliament but itself lasted less than five months. It was succeeded by Ion Antonescu's military dictatorship and the parliament remained suspended.

After the royal coup of 23 August 1944, on 15 July 1946 the government controlled by the Romanian Communist Party issued an electoral law that re-organized the parliament as a single legislative body, called the Assembly of Deputies, thus disestablishing the Senate. Under the 1948 constitution this became the Great National Assembly, a relatively impotent body subordinate to the power of the Romanian Communist Party.

1990: Senate recreated

The Romanian Revolution of 1989 opened the way to restoring pluralistic electoral democracy. Under the country's new post-communist Constitution of 1991, approved by a national referendum in 1991, Romania returned to a bicameral parliamentary system, in which the Senate is an elected body.

A referendum on modifying the size and structure of the Parliament from the current bicameral one with 137 senators and 334 deputies to a unicameral one with a maximum of 300 seats was held on 22 November 2009, at the same time as the first round of the 2009 presidential election. The electors approved by a percentage of 77.78% (50.95% turnout) the adoption of a unicameral Parliament, however as of 2020 the necessary constitutional changes to achieve this have not been put into effect.

Former locations

The first Romanian Senate functioned between 1864 and 1869 in a small building, which still exists today on the Calea Șerban Vodă. Once the new building of the Bucharest University was inaugurated, the Senate moved in a bigger hall in that building. Between 1929–1940, it was temporarily housed in a building on the Regina Elisabeta Boulevard, while a new Palace of the Senate was to be built in today's Națiunile Unite Square. This building was never finished. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Senate was housed in the "Palace of the Senate" (Romanian: Palatul Senatului), located in Revolution Square. That U-shaped structure was built from 1938 to 1941 under engineer Emil Prager's coordination, following the plans of architect Emil Nădejde. It housed the Council of Ministers and from 1958 to 1989 it was the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party. During the Revolution, Romanian President Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena fled by helicopter from the roof of the building. In 2005 the senators moved into the Palace of the Parliament, joining their colleagues from the Chamber of Deputies. "Palatul Senatului" now houses the Ministry of Internal Affairs.



e • d Seats in the Senate of Romania
Party Election seating Lost Won Present seating
Seats % Seats %
  Social Democratic Party 67 49.26% 1 3 69 50.73%
  National Liberal Party 30 22.05% 5 0 25 18.38%
  Save Romania Union 13 9.56% 0 0 13 9.55%
  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats 9 6.62% 1 4 12 8.82%
  Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania 9 6.62% 0 0 9 6.62%
  People's Movement Party 8 5.88% 2 0 6 3.67%
  Independents 0 3 3 2.20%
Total 136 100 136 100


In December 2008, the Democratic Liberal Party and the Alliance of the Social Democratic Party and Conservative Party formed a coalition government (highlighted in bold in the table below).

e • d Seats in the Senate of Romania, 6th legislature
Party Election seating Lost Won Present seating
Seats % Seats %
  Democratic Liberal Party 51 37.22% 19 2 35 25.54%
  Social Democratic Party 49 35.76% 15 3 40 29.19%
  National Liberal Party 28 20.43% 16 4 27 19.70%
  Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania 9 6.57% 2 0 7 5.10%
  National Union for the Progress of Romania 4 12 12 8.75%
  Independents 2 2 1.45%
  Vacant seats 14
Total 137 100 137 100

A list of senate candidates for the year 2012 can be found here


In the 2004 Romanian legislative election, held on 28 November 2004, the Justice and Truth Alliance won the greatest number of seats, even though no party won an outright majority. The President of the Senate for this legislature was Nicolae Văcăroiu, who was elected on 20 December 2004. Following his ad interim presidency of Romania, he delegated his attributions to the vice president Doru Ioan Tărăcilă. After Văcăroiu was sworn in as president of the Court of Accounts, Ilie Sârbu was elected as the new President of the Senate.

Until April 2007, the Justice and Truth Alliance governed in coalition with other minor parties. In April 2007, after the break-up of the Justice and Truth Alliance, the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Union of Hungarians formed a minority government coalition (highlighted in bold in the table below).

Coat of arms of Romania
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Party % of seats Seats
  Social Democratic Party 31.4 43
  National Liberal Party 16 22
  Democratic Party 15.4 21
  Greater Romania Party 13.1 18
  Conservative Party 8.0 11
  Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania 7.3 10
  Independents 8.8 12
Total 100 137


Elections to the Senate were held on 26 November 2000, in which the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PSD) won an overall majority. Then President of the Senate of Romania was Nicolae Văcăroiu, who was elected in December, 2000. The allocation of seats was as follows:

Party % of seats Seats
  Social Democratic Party 46.43 65
  Greater Romania Party 26.43 37
  National Liberal Party 9.29 13
  Democratic Party 9.29 13
  Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania 8.57 12
Total 100 140

Presidents of the Senate

The Standing Bureau of the Senate consists of the President of the Senate, four vice-presidents, four secretaries, and four quaestors. The President of the Standing Bureau also serves as the President of the Senate. The President is elected, by secret ballot, for the duration of the legislative period.[4]

The political stance of presidents of the upper house after the development of a modern party system is given by:

     PNL = National Liberal Party

(formerly the historical National Liberal Party between 1875 and 1947)

     PNȚCD = Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party

(formerly the historical National Peasants' Party - PNŢ between 1926 and 1947)

     FSN/PD/PDL = Democratic Liberal Party

(until 1993 National Salvation Front - FSN; until 2008 Democratic Party - PD)

     PSD = Social Democratic Party

(until 1992 National Salvation Front - FSN; until 1993 Democratic National Salvation Front - FDSN; until 2001 Party of Social Democracy in Romania - PDSR)

     ALDE = Alliance of Liberals and Democrats

(until 2015 Liberal Reformist Party - PLR)

Interim (acting) officeholders are denoted by italics. The Rule of the Senate states that at the first standing of the house, the meeting is headed by the eldest senator and helped by the youngest senator. Those bear the title of Interim President of the Senate, and, as their term is very short (one or two days) are not listed. The interim officeholders listed have hold the office in different circumstances and for a longer time.

Elections # Name Portrait Born-Died Took office Left office Party
since 1990
1990 36 Alexandru Bârlădeanu Alexandru Barladeanu.jpg 1911–1997 18 June 1990 16 October 1992 FSN
1992 37 Oliviu Gherman No image.svg 1930– 22 October 1992 22 November 1996 FDSN/PDSR
1996 38 Petre Roman Petre Roman.jpg 1946– 27 November 1996 22 December 1999 PD
39 Mircea Ionescu-Quintus No image.svg 1917–2017 4 February 2000 30 November 2000 PNL
2000 40 Nicolae Văcăroiu Nicolae Văcăroiu.jpg 1943– 15 December 2000 30 November 2004 PDSR/PSD
2004 30 November 2000 14 October 2008 PSD
Doru-Ioan Tărăcilă No image.svg 1951– 14 October 2008 28 October 2008 PSD
41 Ilie Sârbu Ilie Sarbu.jpg 1950– 28 October 2008 13 December 2008 PSD
2008 42 Mircea Geoană Mircea Geoana la reuniunea BPN - 02.12.2013 (11173070964) (cropped).jpg 1958– 19 December 2008 23 November 2011 PSD
Petru Filip No image.svg 1955– 23 November 2011 28 November 2011 PDL
43 Vasile Blaga Conventia PD-L 2013 - Vasile Blaga (2) (cropped).jpg 1956– 28 November 2011 3 July 2012 PDL
44 Crin Antonescu Crin Antonescu.jpg 1959– 3 July 2012 19 December 2012 PNL
2012 19 December 2012 10 March 2014
45 Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu Victor Ponta la semnarea declaratiei politice privind infiintarea USL 2.0 - 14.11 (4) (15621866127) (cropped 2).jpg 1952– 10 March 2014 21 December 2016 Ind./PLR/ALDE
2016 21 December 2016 2 September 2019 ALDE
Șerban Valeca [ro] 1956– 2 September 2019 10 September 2019 PSD
46 Teodor Meleșcanu Teodor Meleșcanu in 2017.jpg 1941– 10 September 2019 3 February 2020 Ind. with
PSD support
Titus Corlățean Titus Corlatean.jpg 1968– 3 February 2020 PSD

Notable senators


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Filimon, Paul (20 July 2015). "Legea ALEGERILOR PARLAMENTARE pe LISTE, promulgată de Iohannis". România Liberă (in Romanian).
  3. ^ Radu Carp, Governmental responsibility and parliamentary irresponsibility in the Romanian constitutional tradition, by chapter 5 Archived 7 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Pagina oficiala a Senatului României Archived 16 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine