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President of the Republic

The 1974 amended Constitution created the office of president of the republic. Although listed below the GNA and the State Council, the president was the most powerful figure and had the authority to act on behalf of both the GNA and the State Council. Creation of the office was a watershed event in Ceausescu's methodical consolidation of power. Although he had held the position of head of state after 1967, it was only after 1974 that he emerged as an international figure, launching an energetic career of foreign travel and diplomacy.

The official motivation for the PCR decision to establish the office of president was to improve the functioning of the organs of state power--both domestic and international. It was also stressed that the president would be able to exercise those functions of the State Council not requiring plenary meetings. In fact, after 1974 rule by presidential decree became common practice.

On the recommendation of the Central Committee of the PCR and the Socialist Democracy and Unity Front, the president was elected by a two-thirds majority of GNA deputies. He represented the state in internal and international relations. And as chairman of the Defense Council, he was also the supreme commander of the armed forces. He was empowered to proclaim a local or national state of emergency.

Ceausescu greatly broadened the powers of the presidency in domestic political life. He appointed and recalled the ministers and the chairmen of other central bodies of state administration. When the GNA was not in session--that is, for most of the year--he appointed and recalled the president of the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general without even consulting the State Council. He frequently presided over the meetings of the Council of Ministers, and he usurped the State Council's power to grant pardons, citizenship, and asylum.

The president's prerogatives in international relations included establishing the ranks of diplomatic missions, accrediting and recalling diplomatic representatives; receiving the credentials and letters of recall of diplomatic representatives of other states; and concluding international agreements on behalf of Romania.

Data as of July 1989