Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.



The Constitution of Roumania contains one hundred and thirty-three articles, and is framed with great regard to justice and to the national liberties.  The following are some of its leading provisions.  The country is divided into districts, the districts into arrondissements, the arrondissements into communes.[202] It grants (Article 5) freedom of conscience, of instruction, of the press, and of public meeting.  Abolishes (10 and 12)[203] distinctions and privileges of class and foreign titles, such as Prince, Count, Baron, &c., as being contrary to ancient institutions.[204] Capital punishment is abolished except under martial law in time of war (18).  The property of the peasantry and the indemnity to landowners are inviolable (20).  The Greek Catholic religion is made the State Church, but all other sects are allowed freedom of worship (21).  Primary instruction is gratuitous and compulsory (23), and primary schools are to be established in every commune.  Freedom of speech, except as to breaches of the Criminal Code, is unrestricted; press offences must be tried by jury, and no journal can be ‘warned,’ suspended, or suppressed; neither is there any kind of ‘censure’ of the press (24).  Freedom of assemblage (26) and the right to petition (28) are confirmed; and the extradition of political exiles is forbidden.  All crimes are to be tried by jury (105).  The legislative power is vested in the Prince and the national representatives, namely, the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies (32).  But money bills and matters relating to the army contingents must originate with the latter (33).

The executive power is vested in the prince (35) (now the king), who is hereditary in the male line only (82), and who must belong to the Orthodox Greek Church.  He is inviolate, his ministers only being responsible, and one of them must countersign all his decrees (92).  He sanctions, and may refuse his assent to, all laws; has the right of amnesty (93); is the head of the army, makes war, concludes peace, and performs the other acts of a constitutional sovereign.  Should a vacancy occur in the throne, various provisions exist for the eventuality, and in case of failure of issue the two Assemblies conjointly ’elect a prince of one of the sovereign dynasties of Western Europe’ (84).  (Rather vague, but very significant.)

The Chamber of Deputies consists of members elected by direct and by indirect voting.  The constituency is divided into four ‘colleges’ or groups (58).  The first college in each district comprises persons having incomes from property (foncier) of not less than 300 ducats, equal to about 141_l._ (59).  The second college includes those with an income ranging from 100 to 300 ducats (47_l._ to 141_l._)(60).  The third (61) comprises persons in trade paying the State 80 francs (about 3_l._ 4_s._) or upwards per

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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