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Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu

Călin-Constantin-Anton Popescu-Tăriceanu (born January 14, 1952) is a Romanian politician. He has been the Prime Minister of Romania since December 29, 2004. Currently, he is the president of the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the vice-president of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), two positions he assumed in 2004.

Youth

Calin Popescu-Tăriceanu was born in Bucharest. His mother, Alexandrina Louise Lăzărescu, is of Greek ancestry–her mother was fully Greek while her father was half-Romanian, half-Greek. He has been married three times and has two children. Popescu-Tăriceanu is a graduate of the Technical Constructions Institute in Bucharest and has a Master's Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.

Beginnings in politics

Between 1996 and 1997, he served as Minister of Industries and Commerce in Victor Ciorbea's government. Between 1996 and 2004 he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania, representing Bucharest. Between 2000 and 2004, he was vice president of the PNL group in Parliament, as well as vice president of the Budget, Finances and Insurance Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.

Prime Minister

Following the victory of Traian Băsescu in the 2004 presidential election, Băsescu appointed Popescu-Tăriceanu as Prime Minister, in line with a pre-electoral agreement between the two parties of the Justice and Truth Alliance. The new government took office on December 29; it was approved by Parliament by a vote of 265 for and 200 against.

On July 7, 2005, Popescu-Tăriceanu announced that he and his cabinet would resign in order to trigger early elections. The announcement of the resignation was prompted by the Constitutional Court's decision to block a set of laws designed to reform the judicial system. President Traian Băsescu had been pushing for early elections since his victory in the 2004 elections. On July 19, Popescu-Tăriceanu reversed the decision and announced he would not resign, citing the severe floods that hit the country (for example the Comăneşti floods). Floods killed 66 people in Romania that year, leaving thousands homeless. At that point, relations began to publicly sour between Popescu-Tăriceanu and President Băsescu, who refused to meet with the Prime Minister in the days following the announced reversal.

In the view of former President Emil Constantinescu, however, relations between Popescu-Tăriceanu and President Băsescu started to become strained following allegations of Băsescu's past membership in the Securitate (during Communist Romania).

In September 2005, a newspaper alleged that on April 9, 2004, Tăriceanu bought 10 million shares of the Rompetrol company based on insider information, shares that were sold later that year after he became Prime Minister. Several other publicly known persons were cited to testify about their involvement in questionable transactions with Rompetrol shares, including the company's CEO, Dinu Patriciu.

On April 5, 2006 Basescu stated that he regrets naming Tariceanu Prime-Minister, and accused him of partnership with other groups.

On June 29, 2006, Tăriceanu officially announced that the National Liberal Party supports the withdrawal of Romanian troops from international battle zones where they are deployed without a mandate from the United Nations, NATO, or the European Union. This mainly concerns the Romanian troops in Iraq (present there following the Iraq War). This position is strongly opposed by President Băsescu.

On March 14, 2007, Popescu-Tăriceanu postponed the elections for the European Parliament claiming that the political environment was too unstable due to discussions regarding President's impeachment, the subsequent referendum, and the fact that President Basescu asked for a referendum regarding uninominal elections. The media also pointed out that Popescu-Tăriceanu's National Liberal Party stood to perform poorly in the elections if they were held at the time.

On March 21, 2007, he assumed ad interim the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs, 43 days after Ungureanu's resignation, because President Băsescu refused to accept the nomination of Adrian Cioroianu. On April 5 2007, the Constitutional Court decided "The Romanian President's refusal to name a member of Government at the proposal of Prime Minister started a jurisdictional conflict of a constitutional nature.[...] The Romanian President has no right to veto, but he can ask the Prime Minister to renounce his proposal, if he observes that the proposed person does not meet the legal conditions required to be a member of Government". The same day, Cioroianu assumed the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs.

On April 1 2007, Tariceanu dismissed the ministers of the pro-Băsescu Democratic Party and formed a minority government with the Democratic Union of Hungarians; the government was approved by Parliament on April 3, with the support of the Social Democratic Party.

Popescu-Tăriceanu's government survived a no-confidence vote on October 3 2007, following a motion brought by the Social Democratic Party. Although 220 members of parliament voted in favor of the motion and only 152 voted against it, the motion fell short of the necessary 232 votes.

Controversies

Tăriceanu has been accused by President Băsescu of interfering with justice in Dinu Patriciu 's benefit, because prosecutors detained Patriciu for longer than the 24 hours allowed by law. The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest stated that if it turns out to be something else than a legitimate investigation, it would have a harmfull efect on Romanian business climate. Mircea Geoană compared this case with Putin-Hodorkovski match. The next day, Tăriceanu called the Attorney General Ilie Botos to ask about the charges against Patriciu. Emil Boc declared in a similar situation he would have done the same thing.

On 24 January 2006, Monica Macovei, then Minister of Justice, made public a meeting with Tăriceanu which took place 7 months before (in June 2005), and to which Tăriceanu invited Dinu Patriciu. Patriciu complained to Macovei about alleged procedural problems regarding his case. Macovei accused Tăriceanu of interfering with justice. On 20 February 2006 Tăriceanu declared on TVR1:" I recognise my fault. I didn't act correctly. But I didn't influence justice.""Îmi recunosc vina. Nu am procedat corect. Dar nu am influenţat justiţia"

Elena Udrea recalled that, while she was Presidential Counsellor, she saw a note written by Tariceanu. In a few days President Băsescu found this note and made it public, saying "The Prime Minister suggested to me a partnership, but, unfortunately, with our oligarchies""Domnul prim-ministru imi propunea un parteneriat, dar, din pacate, cu oligarhiile noastre". The note was about a complain from Petromidia about 27 May procedure problems:

Dear Traian,
1. I send you annexed a document released by Petromidia, regarding the ongoing investigations.
2. If you have the opportunity to speak at the Prosecuting Magistracy about the subject?

In May 2007, Patriciu won a suit against Romanian Intelligence Service(SRI), which has illegally listened to his phones for two years). He received from SRI 50000 RON as moral prejudice.

Another controverse around Calin Popescu Tariceanu is the one regarding the Citroen dealer located near DN1 highway, the most circulated route which links Bucharest with Prahova Valey and Transilvania hystorical region. The main concern on this was that the location was backed by a group of lobbists who protected it. Also, in the showroom`s proximity is located one of the biggest commercial complex in the whole Central and Eastern Europe - Baneasa Shopping City - including a Mall, an Ikea showroom, and a Carrefour complex. The most interesting part is that Prime-Minister was one of the investors who started the company which runs the show-room.

See also

References

Bibliography

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