Since the fall of communism in 1990, Romania has made decisive strides in developing a competitive multiparty system and an active civil society. In recognition of its strong performance, particularly in this decade, Romania achieved membership to the European Union in 2007. There remains the task of building political neutrality into Romania’s public administration and judiciary, as noted by the European Commission in its oversight of Romania’s democratic progress. This task is made more challenging by steep polarization among Romania’s political parties, which precludes moderation and compromise.
Parliamentary elections in November 2008 afforded voters an opportunity to break the partisan impasse that has long stymied reform efforts. However, a near tie between the center-right Democratic Liberal Party and the center-left Social Democratic Party resulted in a surprise agreement by the two opponents to form a governing coalition, ousting the incumbent National Liberal Party. Both parties must now work to surmount their ideological differences to ensure the passage of necessary legislation to accelerate reforms and respond to constituent concerns.