Gabriel Oprea

Gabriel Oprea
Gabriel Oprea 2011-10-20.jpg
Prime Minister of Romania
In office
29 July 2015 – 10 August 2015
PresidentKlaus Iohannis
Preceded byVictor Ponta
Succeeded byVictor Ponta
In office
22 June 2015 – 9 July 2015
PresidentKlaus Iohannis
Preceded byVictor Ponta
Succeeded byVictor Ponta
Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
5 March 2014 – 9 November 2015
Acting: 23 January 2014 – 5 March 2014
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Preceded byRadu Stroe
Succeeded bySorin Cîmpeanu
In office
22 December 2008 – 13 January 2009
Prime MinisterEmil Boc
Preceded byCristian David
Succeeded byDan Nica (Acting)
Deputy Prime Minister of Romania
In office
21 December 2012 – 9 November 2015
Prime MinisterVictor Ponta
Sorin Cîmpeanu (Acting)
Preceded byFlorin Georgescu
Succeeded byVasile Dîncu
Costin Borc
Minister of National Defence
In office
23 December 2009 – 7 May 2012
Prime MinisterEmil Boc
Cătălin Predoiu (Acting)
Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu
Preceded byMihai Stănișoară
Succeeded byCorneliu Dobrițoiu
Personal details
Born (1961-01-01) 1 January 1961 (age 58)
Fundulea, Călărași County, Romania
Political partyIndependent
Other political
National Union for the Progress of Romania (2010–2016)
Social Democratic Party (2003–2009)
Spouse(s)Sanda Oprea
Alma materNicolae Bălcescu Land Forces Academy
University of Bucharest
Carol I National Defence University
Military service
Years of service1983–2003

Gabriel Oprea (Romanian pronunciation: [ɡabriˈel ˈopre̯a]; born 1 January 1961) is a Romanian politician and a general in the army reserves. The former president of the National Union for the Progress of Romania and a former member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) who is now an independent, he was a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Ilfov County from 2004 to 2012 and was a Senator for Bucharest from 2012 to 2016. In the Adrian Năstase cabinet, he was Minister-Delegate for Public Administration from June 2003 to July 2004; in the Emil Boc cabinet, he was Minister of Administration and Interior from December 2008 to January 2009; again under Boc and continuing under Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu, he was Defence Minister (December 2009-May 2012); and in the Victor Ponta cabinet, served as deputy prime minister from December 2012, additionally holding the Interior portfolio from January 2014. From June to July 2015, and again from late July into August, he was interim Prime Minister of Romania. That November, he left the government after Ponta's resignation.


Early life and military career[]

He was born in Fundulea, Călăraşi County and in 1980 entered the Active Officers' Military School in Sibiu, graduating as an officer in 1983. Following Law studies at the University of Bucharest from 1985 to 1990, he qualified as a lawyer,[1] in 2000 obtaining a Law doctorate from the same institution.[2] He also finished a course in national security at the Carol I National Defence University in 1997. In 2001, he was a professor at the latter school; he served as thesis adviser at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza Police Academy in 2002 and has been both professor and thesis adviser at the National Academy of Intelligence since 2008. He has also authored and co-authored a number of books and chapters since 2001. He and his wife Sanda have a daughter and a son.[1]

In 2015, an allegation of plagiarism was lodged against Oprea with regard to his thesis; he responded that the source of the complaint was an individual he had fired and who was pursuing a vendetta. A national ethics council unanimously found no evidence of plagiarism. Meanwhile, the head of Bucharest University's ethics committee, speaking in a personal capacity, charged that dozens of pages from the thesis were indeed plagiarized. Oprea's party responded by accusing him of defamation and threatening a lawsuit.[2] Additionally, journalists asserted that three doctoral theses supervised by Oprea were themselves affected by plagiarism.[3]

Oprea served in the Romanian Land Forces from 1983 to 1990, and in 1990 worked in the military law. In 2000, Oprea was made a knight of the Order of the Star of Romania, and the following year attained the same rank in the Order for Faithful Service.[1] He reached the rank of three-start lieutenant general in the reserves in 2008.[4] In October 2009, President Traian Băsescu granted him the rank of four-star general, possibly in exchange for Oprea's support of Băsescu's bid for re-election.[5] From 2000 to 2001, he was adjunct director of the National Defence University. From 2001 to 2002, he was a secretary of state at the National State Reserves Administration, and from 2002 to 2003, he was Prefect of Bucharest.[1]

Political beginnings and first cabinet post[]

In 2003, Oprea joined the PSD, and aside from serving in the Năstase government, he became president of the party's Ilfov County branch in 2004 and of its defence policy department in 2006. He was also part of its national coordinating bureau in 2004-2005. At the 2004 election, he won a seat in the Chamber, where he served on the joint parliamentary committee providing oversight to the activities of Serviciul Român de Informaţii (SRI) and worked mainly on legislation affecting that agency.[1] Re-elected in 2008,[6] he was soon named to the Administration and Interior portfolio.[7] At the time, his wealth drew some attention; in 2008, he had bank accounts worth over 1 million, three houses and two apartments in and around Bucharest, and a Mercedes-Benz.[8]

Oprea announced his priorities as minister to be security for citizens, in particular the maintenance of order in large cities; decentralisation combined with a strengthening of local institutions; and for Romania to join the Schengen Area by 2011.[9] However, he quickly ran into political difficulties when a scandal erupted within the party regarding the state secretaries and departmental directors Oprea had named to posts within the ministry; particularly controversial was the appointment of Virgil Ardelean to head the General Directorate for Internal Information and Protection. Oprea was attacked by his rival for the ministerial post, Liviu Dragnea; by former President Ion Iliescu and his allies, whose own candidate Oprea had defeated; and eventually by party leader Mircea Geoană, who charged Oprea with acting unilaterally and outside party discipline by making the appointments without consulting him. However, some defended Oprea, saying he had acted within his legal prerogatives and that it was not Ardelean and the other appointees they objected to, but the fact that they could not place their own supporters in the positions Oprea filled.[10] The affair caused some tension in the coalition government as well: Prime Minister Emil Boc of the PD-L signed Oprea's appointments also without consulting Geoană.[11]

Following several days of scandal and with no sign of support from President Traian Băsescu,[12] Oprea resigned his post after three weeks on the job, claiming he had acted "properly and legally" but that the appointments had "disturbed certain people" and he was unwilling to be a "puppet minister".[13] Shortly afterwards, following the party leadership's withdrawal of its political support for Oprea as minister, he resigned as Ilfov County party chairman,[14] and then left the party itself (and the defence policy department presidency) after the leadership initiated moves to expel him, saying he did not wish to subject county party members (most of whom he believed would have continued to stand by him) to "pressures from headquarters".[15] A month later, in February 2009, with Oprea now sitting as an independent, the Chamber unanimously voted to approve him as a member of the defence committee.[16]

UNPR leadership and later ministerial assignments[]

Joining the new National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR), he was elected its executive president in May 2010.[17] Meanwhile, he returned to the Boc cabinet in late 2009, as Defence Minister.[18] As such, he drew controversy for using a ministerial helicopter to fly to and from party events.[19] He served until May 2012, including, during the last phase, under Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu.[20] At that point, incoming prime minister Victor Ponta, despite having criticized UNPR members as "traitors" and "undercover officers", reached an agreement with Oprea, who provided parliamentary support to the new government.[21] That December, he was elected to the Senate, and subsequently became deputy prime minister.[19][22]

In January 2014, following the resignation of Radu Stroe, Oprea returned as Interior Minister on an interim basis, and on a permanent one after Ponta formed a new government in March.[23] In June 2015, with Ponta out of the country for knee surgery, Oprea became interim prime minister,[24] serving until Ponta returned early the following month.[25] When Ponta took another leave of absence at the end of July, Oprea again took over as acting prime minister, serving until early August.[26][27] In October, he faced calls to resign after a police officer suffered a fatal motorcycle accident while escorting Oprea's motorcade.[28] Shortly after Ponta's resignation in November 2015, Oprea too quit the government.[29]

In March 2016, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) opened two cases of abuse of office against Oprea: one for illegally using a motorcade, and one for purchasing a limousine using government funds. As a result, Oprea promptly resigned as UNPR president.[30] In early July, he quit the UNPR, announcing he would sit as an independent until the autumn election, when he would leave politics altogether.[31] In September, the Senate voted to deny the DNA request to prosecute Oprea for manslaughter in the motorcade case.[32] This move sparked a protest before the Senate building that drew some 3000 individuals, prompting Oprea to announce his resignation and remove any shield of parliamentary immunity.[33]


  1. ^ a b c d e (in Romanian) Curriculum vitae at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; retrieved May 15, 2009
  2. ^ a b (in Romanian) Ioana Nicolescu, "Doctoratul lui Oprea, etichetat plagiat de şeful Comisiei de Etică a Universităţii Bucureşti", Adevărul, 4 September 2015; retrieved September 29, 2015
  3. ^ (in Romanian) Andra Dolana, "Un nou scandal de plagiat, cu o teză coordonată de Gabriel Oprea", România Liberă, 31 August 2015; retrieved September 29, 2015
  4. ^ (in Romanian) "Neculai Onţanu şi Gheorghe Turda, avansaţi la gradul de general" ("Neculai Onţanu and Gheorghe Turda, Advanced to the Rank of General"), Adevărul, 1 December 2008; retrieved May 15, 2009
  5. ^ (in Romanian) Cristian Oprea, "Armata de generali a prezidenţiabilului Traian Băsescu" ("Army of Generals of Presidential Candidate Traian Băsescu"), Cotidianul, 23 October 2009; retrieved October 24, 2009
  6. ^ (in Romanian) Election results,; retrieved May 15, 2009
  7. ^ (in Romanian) Cornelia Trif, "Miniştrii Guvernului Boc au fost validaţi" ("The Ministers of the Boc Government Have Been Validated"), City News, 20 December 2008; retrieved 10 May 2009
  8. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea, nominalizat la MAI, a fost ministru pentru Administraţie în Cabinetul Năstase" ("Gabriel Oprea, Nominated for MAI, Was Minister of Administration in the Năstase Cabinet"), Mediafax, 18 December 2008; retrieved 10 May 2009
  9. ^ (in Romanian) "Ministrul Gabriel Oprea a cerut poliţiştilor clujeni toleranţă zero la infracţionalitate" ("The Minister Gabriel Oprea Asked Cluj-Napoca Police Officers to Have Zero Tolerance for Infractions"), Mediafax, 3 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  10. ^ (in Romanian) Dan Cărbunaru, "Război în PSD. Numirea lui Ardelean declanşează scandalul" ("War in PSD. Ardelean's Appointment Triggers Scandal"), Gândul, 10 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  11. ^ (in Romanian) Iulia Barbu, "'Vulpea' bagă dihonia în PSD" ("'The Fox' Splits the PSD"), Jurnalul Naţional, 10 January 2009; retrieved 15 May 2009
  12. ^ (in Romanian) Mara Răducanu, Lavinia Dimancea, "Băsescu i-a întors spatele" ("Băsescu Turned His Back to Him"), Jurnalul Naţional, 13 January 2009; retrieved 15 May 2009
  13. ^ (in Romanian) "Ministrul de Interne, Gabriel Oprea, a demisionat din funcţie" ("Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea Resigns His Office"), Mediafax, 13 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  14. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea a demisionat de la conducerea PSD Ilfov" ("Gabriel Oprea Resigns from the PSD Ilfov Leadership"), Mediafax, 14 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  15. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea a demisionat din PSD" ("Gabriel Oprea Resigns from the PSD"), Mediafax, 15 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  16. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea, votat ca membru al Comisiei de apărare din Camera Depurtaţilor" ("Gabriel Oprea, Approved as Members of the Defence Committee in the Chamber of Deputies"), Mediafax, 15 January 2009; retrieved May 15, 2009
  17. ^ (in Romanian) "Marian Sârbu a fost ales preşedintele UNPR, Oprea este preşedinte executiv" ("Marian Sârbu Elected UNPR President, Oprea Is Executive President"), România Liberă, 1 May 2010; retrieved July 14, 2015
  18. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea, general cu patru stele în rezervă, nominalizat pentru Ministerul Apărării" ("Gabriel Oprea, Four-Star General, Nominated as Defence Minister"), Mediafax, 20 December 2009; retrieved July 14, 2015
  19. ^ a b (in Romanian) Anca Simina, "Gabriel Oprea, vicepremier în Guvernul Ponta II" ("Gabriel Oprea, Deputy Premier in Second Ponta Government"), Gândul, 19 December 2012; retrieved July 14, 2015
  20. ^ (in Romanian) "Mesajul lui Victor Ponta la preluarea mandatelor M.A.I. şi MApN" ("Victor Ponta's Message at Interior and Defence Swearing-in"),, 8 May 2012; retrieved July 14, 2015
  21. ^ (in Romanian) Cristian Câmpeanu, "Ponta îmbrăţişează 'trădătorii' şi 'ofiţerii acoperiţi' de la UNPR" ("Ponta Embraces UNPR's 'Traitors' and Undercover Officers'"), România Liberă, 2 May 2012; retrieved July 14, 2015
  22. ^ (in Romanian) 2012- profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site; retrieved July 14, 2015
  23. ^ (in Romanian) Alina Novăceanu, "Gabriel Oprea revine la Ministerul de Interne" ("Gabriel Oprea Returns as Interior Minister"), Mediafax, 3 March 2014; retrieved July 14, 2015
  24. ^ (in Romanian) Mircea Marian, Silvana Chiujdea, "Klaus Iohannis l-a numit pe Gabriel Oprea premier interimar" ("Klaus Iohannis Names Gabriel Oprea Interim Premier"), Evenimentul Zilei, 22 June 2015; retrieved July 14, 2015
  25. ^ (in Romanian) "Ponta a ajuns la Guvern, urmând să îşi preia atribuţiile de premier după o absenţă de aproape o lună" ("Ponta Arrives at Government Palace, Will Resume Premier's Duties after Absence of Nearly a Month"), Adevărul, 9 July 2015; retrieved July 14, 2015
  26. ^ (in Romanian) Alice Drăghici, "Gabriel Oprea, din nou premier interimar, în locul lui Victor Ponta" ("Gabriel Oprea, Again Interim Premier, in Victor Ponta's Place"), Gândul, 29 July 2015; retrieved July 30, 2015
  27. ^ (in Romanian) Alice Drăghici, "Premierul Victor Ponta s-a întors la serviciu, după 12 zile de concediu" ("Premier Victor Ponta Back at Work, after 12 Days' Vacation"), Mediafax, 10 August 2015; retrieved August 11, 2015
  28. ^ (in Romanian) Ana-Maria Anițoiu, "Dosarul polițistului mort în coloana oficială a lui Gabriel Oprea" ("Case of the Police Officer Who Died in Gabriel Oprea's Motorcade"), România Liberă, 24 October 2015; retrieved September 20, 2016
  29. ^ (in Romanian) Larisa Bernaschi, "Gabriel Oprea a demisionat din toate funcţiile" ("Gabriel Oprea Resigns from All His Functions"), Evenimentul Zilei, 10 November 2015; retrieved March 4, 2016
  30. ^ (in Romanian) "Gabriel Oprea a demisionat de la şefia UNPR" ("Gabriel Oprea Resigns UNPR Presidency"), Gândul, 3 March 2016; retrieved March 4, 2016
  31. ^ (in Romanian) Gabriel Pecheanu, "Gabriel Oprea demisionează din UNPR şi se retrage din politică în noiembrie" ("Gabriel Oprea Resigns from UNPR and Will Leave Politics in November"), Mediafax, 1 July 2016; retrieved August 9, 2016
  32. ^ (in Romanian) Ana-Maria Lazăr, "Senatorii l-au scăpat pe Oprea de urmărirea penală pentru ucidere din culpă în dosarul morţii lui Bogdan Gigină" ("Senators Shield Oprea from Prosecution for Manslaughter in the Case of Bogdan Gigină's Death"), Mediafax, 19 September 2016; retrieved September 20, 2016
  33. ^ (in Romanian) Firuța Flutur, "Gabriel Oprea anunţă că va demisiona din Senatul României" ("Gabriel Oprea Announces His Resignation from the Romanian Senate"), Mediafax, 23 September 2016; retrieved September 23, 2016

External links[]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mihai Stănișoară
Minister of National Defence
Succeeded by
Corneliu Dobrițoiu
Preceded by
Radu Stroe
Minister of Internal Affairs
Succeeded by
Ilie Botoș
Preceded by
Victor Ponta
Prime Minister of Romania

Succeeded by
Victor Ponta