Traian Basescu was elected president of Romania in December 2004 on a platform promising political reform and economic revitalization. To many, Basescu’s election signaled the final defeat of the communist-successor political party and the end of the difficult transition period from authoritarianism to full democratization. Romania under Basescu: Aspirations, Achievements, and Frustrations during His First Presidential Term, edited by Ronald F. King and Paul E. Sum, examines the complex and contradictory mixture of societal reactions during this period. It was a time in which Romania finally joined the European Union and was included fully among the European family of nations, yet it was also a period remarkable for bitter political controversy and limited reform success. With separate sections addressing issues of governance, civil society, and public policy, Romania under Basescu highlights a central paradox of post-communist Romanian development: having one foot stretching toward the future and the other rooted firmly in the past.

List of Contributors: Lucian-Liviu Albu; Gabriel Badescu; Toma Burean; Henry F. Carey; Radu Dudau; Florin N. Fesnic; Carmen Greab; Raluca I. Iorgulescu, Ronald F. King; Cosmin Gabriel Marian; Marius Matichescu; Martin Mendelski; Raluca Viman Miller; John M. Polimeni; Oleh Protsyk; Bogdan Radu; Paul E. Sum; Lavinia Stan; Jonathan Stillo; Vladimir Tismaneanu; Lucian Turcescu; Patricia T. Young.

“This is a timely profile of the country as it emerges from post-communist isolation to try and play an effective role in the EU, the world’s most important regional entity. A series of well-researched chapters examine change and resistance to it in arrange of policy dimensions. The authors are reputable scholars of the country and their insight is reflected in a set of perceptive analytical essays. The book shows that political partisanship, corruption, and defects in both the public administration and the economy greatly hamper progress, but also that grounds do exist for cautious optimism about Romania.”—Tom Gallagher, University of Bradford, Great Britain

Romania under Basescu brings together many of the most active scholars from Romania, Europe, and North America. The authors examine institutions, politics, and policy formation at a key point in Romania’s post-communist development. King and Sum’s collection provides a welcome update on Romanian politics and policy for anyone who maintains an interest in the country or in the broader topic of democratic transitions.”—William Crowther, University of North Carolina Greensboro

“This volume is indispensible for scholars and practioners interested in Romania because of the breadth of issues addressed. King and Sum have done a masterful job of bringing together some of the best scholarship on Romania as the country looks to the future while attempting to confront its past.”—Steven D. Roper, Eastern Illinois University