8th of December is Constitution Day in Romania, with political leaders making statements to mark the celebration
The anticommunist revolution of December 1989 put Romania on a firm path to democracy and the rule of law, and two years later, the country's old Constitution that had been in force since August 1965 was repealed when the new one came into force. It took one year and a half to draft, debate and pass Romania's first Constitution after the fall of the Ceausescu regime, which was put to a referendum and approved on 8th of December 1991. Extremely necessary after the ousting of the communist dictatorship, the new Constitution formed the fundamental legal framework for the reorganisation and functioning of the Romanian state and society, sanctioning the reinstallation of constitutional democracy in Romania and creating the basis for the affirmation of a multi-party political system.
The Fundamental Law of 1991 was only revised once, in 2003. Some of the most important changes made this time and approved by national referendum, included the extension of the president's term in office from four to five years, restrictions on parliamentary immunity and the decision to allow ethnic minorities to use their mother tongue in administration and in courts.
In 1995, senators and deputies approved the establishment of Constitution Day, which has been celebrated on the 8th of December ever since. In his Constitution Day message this year, prime minister Ludovic Orban emphasised that constitutional values need to be constantly defended to prevent any deviation from democracy and the principles of the rule of law. He said the law is the same for everybody and assured the Romanian people that his government would cultivate respect for the law. The prime minister also said he believed it useful to take into account re-examining the constitutional and legislative framework in order to strengthen democracy.
In his statement, president Klaus Iohannis said any attempt to revise the Constitution should be approached with maximum responsibility, the goal being to have a modern fundamental law that allows the construction of a powerful and efficient state structure. Referring to the need to revise the Constitution, the Senate speaker Teodor Melescanu said adjusting to the times and the needs of society is only natural, while the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu recalled that the fundamental law of the state is more than a simple and formal affirmation of principles, it ensures the democratic balance and guarantees citizens' rights and liberties.