The financial independence of the Romanian Parliament1
Professor Verginia VEDINAȘ2
Assistant lecturer Gabriela CONDURACHE3
Romania4 is a unitary state and constitutional democracy5 organised under the
principle of the separation of powers between the three branches of government –
legislative, executive, and judicial – and th e checks and balances between them. Since its
creation in 1862, the Romanian Parliament has traditionally been a bica meral legislature,
except during the communist era, a period during which it only had a single house. The
desire to put an end to the top-down policies that characterised the communist era was an
impetus for Romanian voters to return the legislature to its former bicameralism by
recasting the R omanian Parliament as a legislatu re composed of two houses, the House of
Representatives and the Senate.6 Senators and representatives are elected to four-year
terms by universal suffrage in free, secret, and equal popular elections. Both
representatives and senators are elected via the same voting mechanism, that is, by party-
list proportional representation.7 The manner in which the two houses are organised and
function, as well as their funding, is set out in the Constitution and in a number of
legislative and regulatory texts. In a first part (1), this article will analyse the rules for
creating, implementing, and auditing th e budgets of the two houses – which are the result
1 The French version of this article was published under the direction of Professors Michel Lascombe
et Aurélien Baudu in the French magazine Gestion et finances publiques, no. 5, Sept-Oct. 2018, pp.
78-83. Moreover, this article was the subject of an intervention in the framework of an
international symposium on "Public funding of parliaments in Europe: financial autonomy in
debate (s)", organised by the EU Court of Auditors, Sciences PO Lille and the University of Lille,
Luxembourg - Court of Auditors of the EU, on 22 and 23 March 2018.
2 Verginia Vedinaș - Faculty of Law, University of Bucharest, Romania, prof.verginia.
3 Gabriela Condurache – PhD, assistant lecturer in public law, CERAPS (UMR – 8026), Université
de Lille, France, firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 Romania neighbours Bulgaria to the south, the Republic of Moldova to the east, Ukraine to the
northeast, Hungary to the northwest, Serbia to the southwest, and the Black Sea to the southeast. Its
territorial area measures 238,391 km2 (92,043 sq. mi.), and it is home, according to the latest
census data from 2011, to a population of 20,121,641 inhabitants. The country’s official language
is Romanian (a Romance language). Its currency is the “leu” (plural: lei): 1 euro = 4.5 lei
(Condurache G., Le pouvoir local roumain, 2013, 92 pp., ISSN 2112-5953, online at
abfe2c954c94e43397bea6d1f4, consulted on 1.09.2018)
5 Article 1 of the Romanian Constitution of 8 December 1991 as amended by Law 429 of 23 October
2003 (amendment approved by a national referendum held on 18-19 October 2003).
6 After bitter debate as to whether Romania’s Parliament should be unicameral or bicameral among
members of the Constitutional Assembly tasked with drafting Romania’s first post-communist
constitution, champions of a bicameral parliament were successful in pleading their cause. Article
58, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution of 8 December 1991 provides that “the Parliament is co mposed
of the House of Representatives and the Senate”.
7 After the December 2016 elections, Parliament numbered 465 members (329 representatives and
136 senators), down 123 from December 2012 (588 members of Parliament – 394 representatives
and 176 senators).