Romania's fourth president who took office in 2004 and governed through two impeachment referendums to win re-election in 2012.
He was the mayor of Romania's capital, Bucharest, where he rid the city of a plague of stray dogs and improved its lighting and water infrastructures.
He was dismissed from office in 2007, but a popular referendum re-confirmed him in office; this happened again in 2012.
He was born near the port city of Constanţa, the largest Romanian port on the Black Sea.
He supported George W. Bush's war in Iraq, to which he supplied a contingent of Romanian troops, and talked of Bucharest-London-Washington axis.