Former King Addresses Romanian Parliament

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 8:50 am (UTC-5)
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Romania's former King Michael has called for more democracy and for politicians to restore the country's dignity, in his first speech to parliament in more than 60 years.

In a special parliamentary session Tuesday marking his 90th birthday, Michael said the return to democracy in 1989 brought freedom and the beginning of prosperity to Romania. It was the ex-king's first address to parliament since 1947, when he was forced to abdicate the throne by Soviet-backed communists.

Michael received standing ovations at the beginning and end of his speech. But it was opposed by many in the ruling Liberal Democrat Party and was not attended by Romanian President Traian Basescu and some of the high-ranking members of the party.

While opinion polls show that the former king is popular with Romanians, few back a restoration of the monarchy.

Romania returned to democracy in 1989 with the violent overthrow and execution of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

The former king spent years in exile in Switzerland and Britain before being allowed to return to Romania in 1992 and regain his citizenship in 1997.