Victor Ponta became Romania's third prime minister in less than six months when his left wing-dominated Social Liberal Union (USL) alliance took charge in May 2012 after toppling its predecessor in a confidence vote.
Mr Ponta's party, which came to power by capitalising on mounting discontent over austerity policies, won a landslide victory at parliamentary elections in December 2012.
The USL won nearly 60% of the vote, against 17% for the coalition of parties backed by President Basescu, who had threatened to use his power as president to nominate the prime minister to block Mr Ponta's return to office.
Mr Ponta has proved popular with Romanians, but he has faced criticism from some abroad who accuse him of disregard for democratic norms and the rule of law.
In his very first months in office, he courted controversy by launching a campaign to impeach President Basescu in the midst of the economic crisis, having already ousted the heads of both houses of parliament and the ombudsman. Senior European politicians and officials have criticised these steps, which threaten to isolate Romania within the European Union.
Mr Ponta also faces accusations - which he denies - that he plagiarised part of his doctoral thesis.
On coming to power, Mr Ponta promised to stick to a deal with international lenders while seeking to "correct social imbalances". Romania obtained a 20-billion-euro ($26-billion) rescue package from the IMF, the EU and the World Bank in 2009, in exchange for steps to cut public spending, which helped it emerge from recession.
In October 2013 his government faced further scandal when his deputy, Liviu Dragnea, was charged along with 74 other people with trying to rig the 2012 referendum that failed to oust President Basescu.
Mr Ponta replaced Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu, who in February 2012 succeeded Emil Boc, who in turn had resigned amid violent protests at his government's drastic public-spending cuts.
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"Romania Government Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Romania/Government
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"Romania Government Stats", NationMaster [Internet]. 1918-2014. Avaliable from: <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Romania/Government>.
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