Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Ion Iliescu (born March 3, 1930) is a Romanian politician. He was the elected President of Romania for eleven years (three terms), from 1990 to 1992, 1992 to 1996, and 2000 to 2004. His first and second terms were separated from the third term by the presidency of Emil Constantinescu. His successor is the former Democratic Party leader Traian Băsescu. Currently, Iliescu is Senator for the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which is the largest single political party in Romania. The PSD was one of several parties formed after the breakup of the National Salvation Front, in the early 1990s.
Iliescu is widely recognized as the predominant figure in the first fifteen years of post-1989 Romanian Revolution politics. During his terms Romanian politics stabilized, and Romania joined NATO. However, he is often accused by political opponents of retaining communist convictions and allegiances, as well as tolerating corruption in the party he led (successively named FSN, FDSN, PDSR, and PSD) and his administrations.
In 2005, investigations began that could eventually lead to Iliescu's trial on a number of charges, including crimes against humanity, related to considerable abuses of power he allegedly committed during the years 1989-1990, especially during the Romanian Revolution and the violent miners' riots of the early and mid-1990s. Supporters of Iliescu and Iliescu himself claim that the investigations are an instrument of political vengeance by his opponents currently in power.
Iliescu's father, Alexandru Iliescu, was a railroad worker with Communist views during the period in which the Romanian Communist Party was banned by the authorities. In 1931, he went to the Soviet Union to take part in the Communist Party Congress of Gorikovo, near Moscow. He remained in the USSR for the next four years and was arrested upon his return, dying in prison in 1945. During his time in the Soviet Union, Alexandru Iliescu divorced and married Mariţa, a chambermaid.
Born in Olteniţa, Iliescu studied fluid mechanics at the Bucharest Polytechnic Institute and then as a foreign student at the Energy Institute of the Moscow University. During his stay in Moscow, he was the secretary of the "Association of Romanian Students" it is alleged that he knew Mikhail Gorbachev, although Iliescu always denied this.
Politics of Romania
Iliescu: Official biography (in Romanian)
Vladimir Alexe — Ion Iliescu - biografia secretă: "Candidatul manciurian" (Ion Iliescu - The Secret Biography: "The Manchurian Candidate"); 2000; ISBN 973-581-036-0
The supplement dedicated to Iliescu (in Romanian), published by Academia Caţavencu, 22 December 2004
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