Great National Assembly

The Great National Assembly (Romanian: Marea Adunare Națională; MAN) was the legislature of the Socialist Republic of Romania (known as the Romanian People's Republic before 1965). After the overthrow of Communism in Romania in December 1989, the National Assembly was dissolved by decree of the National Salvation Front and eventually replaced by the bicameral parliament, made up of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Great National Assembly

Marea Adunare Națională
Communist Romania (1948-1989)
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
History
Established1948
Disbanded1989
Preceded byRomanian: Reprezentanța Națională1 (Adunarea Deputaților2)
Succeeded byParliament of Romania (Chamber of Deputies and the Senate)
Seats369
Elections
open single party list
Meeting place
Palatul Camerei Deputatilor1.jpg
Palatul Adunării Deputaților
Footnotes

1the name under which the Parliament of Romania was defined by the 1866 and 1923 Constitutions;
2after World War II the Constitution of 1923 was reestablished; due to the communist occupation of the country the Senate was suspended;

The Great National Assembly was elected every four years and each individual member represented 60,000 citizens. The system was created to imitate the Soviet model.

PowersEdit

The MAN had the power to, among other things, amend the constitution and appoint and depose the Supreme Commander of the Romanian People's Army. The resolutions required a simple majority to be passed through.[1]

The Assembly convened twice a year for ordinary sessions and for extraordinary sessions as many times as required by the State Council or by at least one third of the members of the Assembly. It elected its own chairmen and four deputies to preside each session.[1] On paper, it was the highest level of state power in Romania, and all other state organs were subordinate to it. In practice, like all other Communist legislatures, it did little more than give legal sanction to decisions already made by the Romanian Communist Party (PCR).

Formally, the MAN gained in power over time. The 1948 Constitution (article 39) granted it just eight powers;[2] the 1952 Constitution (article 24), 10;[3] the 1965 Constitution (article 43), 24.[1]

Voters were presented with a single slate of candidates from an alliance dominated by the PCR—known as the People's Democratic Front from 1947 to 1968, the Socialist Unity Front from 1968 to 1980, and the Front of Socialist Unity and Democracy from 1980 to 1989. Since no one could run for office without Front approval, the Front—and through it, the PCR—effectively predetermined the composition of the Assembly.[4]

When the Assembly was not in session, some of its powers were exercised by the State Council (which the Constitution defined as the MAN in permanent session), such as setting guidelines for the law and supervising the local councils. It could also issue governmental regulations in lieu of law. If such regulation was not approved by the MAN at its next session, it was considered revoked. However, under the principles of democratic centralism, such approval was merely a formality. Combined with the MAN's infrequent sessions, this meant that State Council decisions de facto had the force of law. In emergencies, the State Council assumed the MAN's powers to control the budget and economic plan, appoint and dismiss ministers and justices of the Supreme Court, mobilize the armed forces and declare war.

1980 electionsEdit

According to the official results of the March 9, 1980, election, which elected 369 deputies, 99.99% of the registered voters cast their votes. Of them, 98.52% approved the Front list, 1.48% voted against and just 44 votes were declared invalid.[1]

192 seats of the Assembly were occupied by women and 47 seats belonged to national minorities (mainly Hungarians and Germans).[1]

Presidents of the Great National AssemblyEdit

The "lower house" numbering continues from the numbering of presidents of the old Assembly of Deputies (1862–1948).

Great National Assembly presidents
Lower
house
number
No. Name Portrait Born–died Took office Left office Party
41 1 Gheorghe Apostol   1913–2010 7 April 1948 11 June 1948 PMR
42 2 Constantin Agiu   1891–1961 11 June 1948 27 December 1948 PMR
43 3 Constantin Pârvulescu   1895–1992 27 December 1948 5 July 1949 PMR
44 4 Dumitru Petrescu   1906–1969 5 July 1949 28 December 1949 PMR
45 5 Alexandru Drăghici   1913–1993 28 December 1949 26 January 1950 PMR
(44) (4) Dumitru Petrescu   1906–1969 26 January 1950 29 May 1950 PMR
46 6 Constantin Doncea   1904–1973 29 May 1950 6 September 1950 PMR
(41) (1) Gheorghe Apostol   1913–2010 6 September 1950 5 April 1951 PMR
47 7 Ion Vincze   1910–1996 5 April 1951 26 March 1952 PMR
(41) (1) Gheorghe Apostol   1913–2010 26 March 1952 6 June 1952 PMR
48 8 Gheorghe Stoica   1900–1976 2 June 1952 30 November 1952 PMR
(43) (3) Constantin Pârvulescu   1895–1992 23 January 1953 5 March 1961 PMR
49 9 Ştefan Voitec   1900–1984 20 March 1961 28 March 1974 PMR/PCR
50 10 Miron Constantinescu   1917–1974 28 March 1974 18 July 1974 PCR
51 11 Nicolae Giosan   1921–1990 26 July 1974 12 December 1989 PCR

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Richard Staar, Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe (4th revised edition, 1984), Hoover Institution, Stanford University. pg. 193-194
  2. ^ 1948 Constitution of Romania
  3. ^ 1952 Constitution of Romania
  4. ^   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Sergiu Verona (July 1989). "Government and Politics". In Bachman, Ronald D (ed.). Romania: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 90006449.