Traian Băsescu

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Traian Băsescu, Romania’s charismatic and amiable two-term president, is still the most dominant figure in the country’s politics today. Traian and his huge family grew up under the severity and discipline of their father’s military discipline, having been born during the height of the Communist regime. He enlisted at the navy academy as a young boy, and advanced quickly through the ranks to captain, leading the country’s merchant marine service. Following Romania’s revolution, he effectively parlayed his extensive nautical experience into a political career, first as Minister of Transportation under a series of prime ministers and later as a parliament deputy. He took advantage of the chance and ran for and was elected mayor of the capital, where his outgoing, pleasant personality drew strong condemnation from his many opponents. He decided to strike while the iron was hot and resigned as mayor to compete for president of Romania, narrowly winning the election in the second round. He successfully completed two full terms in office after fending off two recall attempts. Băsescu is debating whether to step down from the limelight after more than a decade at the top of Romanian politics or continue to be involved in the country’s affairs.

Childhood and Adolescence

Traian Băsescu was born on November 4, 1951, in Murfatlar, near Constanta, Romania, to a military mother Elena and a military father Dumitru. He worked as a young lad greeting tourists at the Black Sea.
Traian attended basic school in Iasi after his father was relocated there in 1957, and subsequently enrolled in Costache Negruzzi High School.

Traian’s father was assigned to the city of Bacau in 1963. He went to ‘Lucretiu Patrascanu High School’ there.
In 1967, he earned a degree in Maritime Navigation from the ‘Marine Institute of Mircea cel Batran’ in Constanta.

Career of Traian Băsescu

He was a naval officer for NAVROM, the commercial marine service, from 1976 until 1981, commanding numerous different ships. He served as a naval officer for NAVROM for the next six years, commanding the Arges and Crisana tanker ships.

He steadily advanced through the ranks, and in 1987, he was assigned to Belgium. For the next two years, he was the chief of NAVROM’s Antwerp office.

He was named director-general of the ‘State Inspectorate for Civil Navigation,’ which was controlled by the Ministry of Transportation, in 1989, during the closing days of the Communist system.

He served as the head of the maritime department within the newly constituted Government after the Romanian Revolutions, when the ‘National Salvation Front’ came to power in 1990.

He was the Minister of Transportation under the governments of Petre Roman and Theodor Stolojan from 1991 to 1992.

In 1992, he was a member of the board of directors of ‘Astra Passenger Cars Arad.’ He was elected to parliament in the same year, representing the city of Vaslui.

He earned a degree in maritime transportation from the ‘Norwegian Academy’ in 1995. The school focused on advanced naval transport management strategies.

The next year, he was re-appointed as Minister of Transportation, a position he held for two years. He was re-appointed twice and served as Transportation Minister under three different governments until June 26, 2000.
He was elected mayor of Bucharest in July 2000 and served four years of his five-year term.

Băsescu paid bribes after selling off 16 state-owned naval warships during the Communist era, according to charges made in 2003. Despite the fact that the claims were never substantiated, he spent the rest of his career dogged by doubts and suspicions.

In 2004, he ran for President of Romania and narrowly defeated Adrian Nastase in the second round.
Băsescu was removed from government in 2007 when his political opponents took control of the parliament. He was restored to the presidency following a nationwide referendum.

He stood for president again in 2009 after five years in office, defeating Mircea Geoana in the first round.
His political opponents forced him out of government once more in 2012. He was re-elected president after a countrywide vote.

The president of Romania is limited to two terms in office by law, and his term ended on December 21, 2014, with the election of Johannis Klaus as his successor.
Băsescu is now a member of the Romanian People’s Party (PMP) and remains engaged in Romanian politics.

Major Projects of Traian Băsescu

Traian Băsescu served as President of Romania for two terms of five years each and as Mayor of Bucharest for four years. Romania became a NATO member in 2004 under his leadership.
Romania’s accession to the European Union took place during his presidency, in 2007.

Personal History and Legacy

The secret dossiers on Traian created by Communist-era police when he was a naval cadet in 1973 have never been located, prompting his opponents to believe he had his papers erased.

Traian is still married to Maria Băsescu, his wife of nearly 40 years, whom he married in 1975, and the couple has two daughters, Ioana and Elena.

Elena Băsescu, his daughter, is now a member of the European Parliament, and the Băsescu family remains a political force in Romania.

Estimated Net Worth

Despite the fact that Traian Băsescu’s exact net worth has never been made public, there have been countless speculations over the years that he has used his decades of public service to benefit himself personally. He had the equivalent of $83,000 in his bank account, according to a report published following the December 1989 Revolution.


Despite being twice democratically elected in fair and democratic elections, this well-known politician was twice removed from office, in 2007 and 2012.