Document Type


Publication Date

January 2015


This paper analyzes the constitutional events in the summer of 2012 when Romania experienced the deepest constitutional crisis in the country’s post-communist history. It discusses the implications of these events for semi-presidentialism, a regime that splits executive power between the president and the prime minister, and which has become a popular choice for constitutional design in Europe and around the world. I ask how constitutional democracies that are still at a relatively early stage of political maturity can handle the pressures of ideological splits within the executive power. Is semi-presidentialism a good choice of regime for societies in transition to constitutional democracy? The article also approaches the crisis from the perspective of the European Union. After describing its complex role in the unfolding of the Romanian crisis, I ask about the intervention tools—legal and/or political—available to the Union in the event that one of its member states is at the brink of sliding into authoritarianism.


This article has been accepted for publication in International Journal of Constitutional Law, published by Oxford University Press.