December 1989 Public demonstrations in several cities force communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu from power. Ceausescu and his wife are summarily tried by a special military court and executed on Christmas Day. The National Salvation Front (FSN-Frontul Salvarii Nationale), headed by former communist Ion Iliescu, takes power and declares the end of the one-party system.
May 1990 Iliescu is elected president.
November 1991 Romania adopts a new constitution.
November 1996 A center-right victory in the elections sweeps the former communists from power. Former geology professor Emil Constantinescu defeats Iliescu in the presidential run-off election.
January 1997 The government launches the interagency National Council of Action against Corruption and Organized Crime. Two weeks later, President Constantinescu urges all the elected presidents of Romania's county councils to set up anti-corruption commissions.
January 1999 Romania signs the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. Ratification follows in July 2002.
January 1999 Pressing for a wage increase and a reversal of the government's decision to close unprofitable coal mines, thousands of miners from western Romania march toward Bucharest and violently clash with police forces in the capital's suburbs. Protesters are led by the fiery Miron Cozma, who defies a court ruling sentencing him to 18 years in prison for leading a deadly miner protest in 1991, during which the first post-communist prime minister was forced to step down. The miners and government eventually reach a deal. Cozma is arrested and sent to prison. In 2004, just before leaving office, President Iliescu pardons Cozma but immediately reverses the decision due to public pressure.
November 1999 Romania signs the Civil Law Convention on Corruption. Ratification follows in April 2002.
December 2000 Ion Iliescu retakes the presidency, defeating the ultranationalist candidate Corneliu Vadim Tudor in a run-off. Leftist Adrian Nastase becomes prime minister.
March 2001 The World Bank releases the report "Diagnostic Surveys of Corruption in Romania," which finds that the public considers corruption a widespread part of everyday life. The customs service and judiciary are perceived as most corrupt.
March 2002 Britain's Parliament calls for a public inquiry into whether British billionaire Lakshmi Mittal's deal to acquire Sidex, a Romanian steel plant, was tainted by corruption. British Prime Minister Tony Blair allegedly wrote a letter to the Romanian prime minister on behalf of Mittal in exchange for Mittal's contribution to the Labour Party. Mittal allegedly paid bribes to Romanian officials to consummate the deal.
June 2002 Journalists criticize a new media bill requiring newspapers to provide a right of reply to anyone in the public or government who feels a story harmed their rights or interests. Critics fear the bill, passed by the leftist-dominated Parliament, will cause newspapers to shy away from reporting on important public interest matters.
January 2003 Transparency International's annual global corruption report concludes that Romania loses several billion dollars every year to widespread corruption.
October 2003 Voters approve constitutional changes designed to bring the country in line with European Union (EU) standards for parliamentary process and the role of the judiciary.
December 2003 Romania signs the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Ratification follows in November 2004.
March 2004 Romania is admitted to NATO.
June 2004 Parliament adopts a new package of laws reforming the judiciary. The laws establish clearer separation between the Justice Ministry and the Superior Council of the Magistracy, with the latter assuming full responsibility for the recruitment, training and sanctioning of judges and prosecutors. Parliament also rescinds the prosecutor-general's right to extraordinary appeal, which had been used to interfere with Supreme Court rulings.
November-December 2004 Former Transport Minister and Mayor of Bucharest Traian Basescu wins the presidential elections defeating Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Calin Popescu Tariceanu becomes the new prime minister following parliamentary elections.
Basescu vows to make the fight against poverty and corruption his top priority. Prior to the elections, the Coalition for a Clean Parliament, comprising several Romanian NGOs, publishes a report finding that 153 candidates from the major parties were tainted by corruption allegations, conflicts of interest or collaborations with the former Communist secret police.
December 2004 Romania completes negotiations to join the European Union in January 2007. The European Union imposes harsh preconditions such as overhauling the judicial system, promoting industrial competition and eliminating corruption.
December 2004 Parliament adopts a law on the protection of whistleblowers. The law guarantees the protection of public employees who disclose the breach of the law in the agencies where they work.
April 2005 Romania signs the Treaty of Accession, paving the way for its formal admission into the European Union in January 2007, contingent on reforms.
May 2005 Dinu Patriciu, chairman of the oil company Rompetrol and a top member of the largest party in the ruling coalition, the National Liberal Party (PNL-Partidul National Liberal), is detained on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering. In September 2006, Patriciu and 11 others are charged with various crimes, including embezzlement, money laundering and market manipulation. The trial is pending as of August 2007.
July 2005 Prime Minister Tariceanu announces he will resign to protest the Constitutional Court's obstruction of judicial reforms demanded by the European Union. He changes his mind two weeks later.
February 2006 Former prime minister and current parliamentary speaker Adrian Nastase is charged with corruption relating to a real estate deal known as the Zambaccian case. Charges will also be brought against Nastase's wife and several former government officials, including a former Transport minister.
September 2006 European Commission confirms that Romania will join the European Union at the beginning of 2007.
January 2007 Romania joins the European Union.
May 2007 President Traian Basescu earns the backing of voters in a referendum which ends the impeachment attempts of MP's to remove him from office. The MP's were accusing the president of exceeding his constitutional powers.
June 2007 The European Commission demands Romania to put more effort into fighting corruption.
August 2007 The former government's Secretary General Serban Mihailescu is sent to the Court of Accounts for investigation into the irregularities published in a report by the government's control department on the signing of a passport printing contract between the State Protocol Administration and the German company Bundesdruckerei. The report claims that the 35.5 million euro-(US$51.2 million) worth contract is given to the German company even though the National Printing House Company offered a better bid, nearly half of the price.