Elena Udrea

Elena Udrea

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Elena Gabriela Udrea is a Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n politician. A member of the Democratic Liberal Party
Democratic Liberal Party (Romania)
The Democratic Liberal Party is a populist, centre-right party in Romania. It was formed on 15 December 2007, when the Democratic Party merged with the Liberal Democratic Party. From 2004 to 2007, the Democratic Party was part of the governing Justice and Truth Alliance...

 (PD-L), she has been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies of Romania
The Chamber of Deputies is the lower house in Romania's bicameral parliament. It has 315 seats, to which deputies are elected by direct popular vote on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms...

 for Bucharest
Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

 since 2008. In successive Emil Boc
Emil Boc
Emil Boc is the Prime Minister of Romania, having served since December 2008. In June 2004, he was elected Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, the largest city in Transylvania. Boc is also the president of the Democratic Liberal Party, who designated him as Prime Minister in 2008. On October 13, 2009, his...

 cabinets, she has served as Tourism Minister from 2008 to 2009 and as Regional Development and Tourism Minister since 2009.

Education and legal career


Udrea was born in Buzău
Buzau
The city of Buzău is the county seat of Buzău County, Romania, in the historical region of Wallachia. It lies near the right bank of the Buzău River, between the south-eastern curvature of the Carpathian Mountains and the lowlands of Bărăgan Plain.The city's name dates back to 376 AD when the name...

 and completed secondary studies at the city's Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu National College
Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu National College
The Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu National College is the most important high school in Buzău, Romania. It was named after the Romanian scholar and historian Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu...

. She then attended the faculty of Law and Public Administration at Bucharest's Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University
Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University
Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University is a Romanian private University.The Romanian newspaper Gândul has reported that the Christian University "Dimitrie Cantemir" from Bucharest started 34 Master's degree curricula which have no legal ground. According to the rector of the University, Mrs...

, graduating in 1996.

Since 2005, Udrea has pursued studies at the Carol I National Defence University
Carol I National Defence University
The Carol I National Defence University , located in Bucharest, Romania, was established in 1889. It seeks to train military and civilian experts in security and national defence, and undertakes scientific studies related to these matters when requested by relevant state authorities.-External links:*...

, receiving a master's degree in Military Science in 2007 and continuing to work on a doctorate in the same field. Udrea worked as a lawyer in Bucharest from 1997 to February 2005, resuming the practice of law that December. At Dimitrie Cantemir, she began teaching political systems in autumn 2007, and she has authored or co-authored five works on geopolitics and globalisation. Some of her activities as a lawyer have drawn criticism from the non-governmental Political Investigation Group: for instance, it has questioned the fact that while an opposition city councillor in 2004, she represented the government-run Department for State Heritage Administration (RA-APPS), at one point receiving public contracts worth 710 million lei
Romanian leu
The leu is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani . The name of the currency means "lion". On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu to a new leu . 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL...

 during a single week.

Political career


Udrea began her political activity in 2002 as a legal adviser to the Social Democratic Party
Social Democratic Party (Romania)
The Social Democratic Party is the major social-democratic political party in Romania. It was formed in 1992, after the post-communist National Salvation Front broke apart. It adopted its present name after a merger with a minor social-democratic party in 2001. Since its formation, it has always...

 (PSD). She joined the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Romania)
The National Liberal Party , abbreviated to PNL, is a centre-right liberal party in Romania. It is the third-largest party in the Romanian Parliament, with 53 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 22 in the Senate: behind the centre-right Democratic Liberal Party and the centre-left Social...

 (PNL) that year, becoming a Bucharest city councillor
General Council of Bucharest
The General Council of Bucharest is the legislative body of the Municipality of Bucharest, and is made up of 55 councillors elected every four years...

 in June 2004, during the period of the Justice and Truth Alliance. She held that office until the following February, and during that time was president of the council's committee on law and discipline. In October 2005 she resigned from the PNL, joining the Democratic Party (PD; precursor to today's PD-L) in February 2006. In December, she was elected the party's executive secretary, becoming a vice-president of the PD-L a year later. In these capacities, she promoted the party and spoke approvingly of the president, for instance ahead of the 2008 local election
Romanian local election, 2008
Local elections were held in Romania on June 1, 2008, with a runoff for mayors on June 15, 2008.On June 1 where elected:* all the villages, communes, cities, and municipal cluncils , and the Sectors Local Councils of Bucharest...

.

From February to November 2005, while away from her law practice, Udrea was a state counsellor and head of the Presidential Chancellery under President
President of Romania
The President of Romania is the head of state of Romania. The President is directly elected by a two-round system for a five-year term . An individual may serve two terms...

 Traian Băsescu
Traian Basescu
Traian Băsescu is the current President of Romania. After serving as the mayor of Bucharest from June 2000 until December 2004, he was elected president in the Romanian Presidential Elections of 2004 and inaugurated on December 20, 2004...

. Among her roles were summarizing secret documents addressed to the Presidency, approving lists of invitees to Cotroceni Palace
Cotroceni Palace
Cotroceni Palace is a palace in Bucharest which is the residence of the President of Romania, located at Bulevardul Geniului, nr. 1.On Cotroceni Hill, in 1679, Şerban Cantacuzino built a monastery...

 and representing the Presidency at various events. During this period, she launched a series of attacks on Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Romania
The Prime Minister of Romania is the head of the Government of Romania. Initially, the office was styled President of the Council of Ministers , when the term "Government" included more than the Cabinet, and the Cabinet was called The Council of Ministers...

 Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu
Calin Popescu-Tariceanu
Călin Constantin Anton Popescu-Tăriceanu is a Romanian politician. He was the Prime Minister of Romania between 29 December 2004 and 22 December 2008...

, who had fallen out of favour with Băsescu; these centred on Tăriceanu's opposition to having early elections. She also drew notice for speaking during a televised interview about a "President of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

" (which is a monarchy) and of that country as a member
Member State of the European Union
A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

 of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (which it is not). Udrea resigned her post after eight months, citing the "profoundly unjust" attacks on her and others involved in Băsescu's anti-corruption drive, and her desire not to become a liability for her boss. These controversies centred around the RA-APPS affair and alleged links she and her husband had to the parking firm Dalli, headed by what Băsescu had termed the "personal mafia" of his 2004 election
Romanian presidential election, 2004
A presidential election was held in Romania on November 28, 2004. 12 candidates competed for the office. As no candidate won more than 50% of the votes, a run-off was held on December 12, 2004, between the two leading candidates: prime minister Adrian Năstase of the ruling Social Democratic Party...

 rival Adrian Năstase
Adrian Nastase
Adrian Năstase is a Romanian politician who was the Prime Minister of Romania from December 2000 to December 2004.He competed as the Social Democratic Party candidate in the 2004 presidential election, but was defeated by centre-right Justice and Truth Alliance candidate Traian Băsescu.He was...

. Moreover, she was characterised as "the blonde from Golden Blitz"—a Cotroceni
Cotroceni
Cotroceni is a neighbourhood in western Bucharest, Romania located around the Cotroceni hill, in Bucharest's Sector 6.The Hill of Cotroceni was once covered by the forest of Vlăsia, which covered most of today's Bucharest...

 restaurant once frequented by Băsescu and the owners of which had business ties to Udrea's husband—having been photographed there with President-elect Băsescu in 2004. (Despite rumours to the contrary, she stated in an interview that her relationship with the President was "strictly professional".) Following her resignation, Udrea continued to act as a presidential surrogate, soon afterwards accusing the prime minister of placing a call to a prosecutor on behalf of his friend and business partner Dinu Patriciu
Dinu Patriciu
Dan Costache "Dinu" Patriciu , is a billionaire businessman and entrepreneur with a long standing involvement in real estate. In 1998 he led an investor buyout of the previously state-owned Romanian oil company, Rompetrol...

 on the day of Patriciu's arrest. She returned to this theme in 2007, when she alleged that Tăriceanu had written the president a note soliciting the latter's intervention in the case.

At the 2008 legislative election
Romanian legislative election, 2008
Legislative elections were held in Romania on November 30, 2008. The Democratic Liberal Party won most seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, although the alliance headed by the Social Democratic Party won a fractionally higher vote share.-Electoral System:President Traian Băsescu...

, Udrea won 43.4% of the vote in her district, enough to gain a seat in Parliament once redistribution took place. Three days after the legislative session opened, she was sworn in to the new office of Tourism Minister. All government employees on two floors of the Victoria Palace
Victoria Palace
Victoria Palace is a palace in Victory Square, Bucharest, built in 1937, which is the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Romania and his cabinet.-See also:*Government of Romania...

 were evicted in order to make room for the new ministry. As minister, her goals included raising tourism's share of Romania's GDP from 3.5% in 2008 to 10% by 2012, and a renewed focus on the country's spa town
Spa town
A spa town is a town situated around a mineral spa . Patrons resorted to spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word comes from the Belgian town Spa. In continental Europe a spa was known as a ville d'eau...

s. During the summer of 2009, a parliamentary committee headed by Ludovic Orban
Ludovic Orban
Ludovic Orban is a Romanian engineer and politician. A member of the National Liberal Party , he was Minister of Transport from April 2007 to December 2008 in the second Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu cabinet. He has also been a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bucharest since 2008.He and...

 of the opposition National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Romania)
The National Liberal Party , abbreviated to PNL, is a centre-right liberal party in Romania. It is the third-largest party in the Romanian Parliament, with 53 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 22 in the Senate: behind the centre-right Democratic Liberal Party and the centre-left Social...

 (PNL) investigated alleged abuses at the ministry, including documents signed in Udrea's name by her subordinates, a flawed contracting process, the spending of unallocated funds, and the disbursement of money to town halls based on political rather than tourist-potential criteria. In September, the committee's report recommended her dismissal and criminal charges for abuse of office, conflict of interest and negligence; she refused to resign and denounced the "fabricated accusations". That October, she became interim Environment Minister following the resignation of her PSD cabinet colleagues, including Nicolae Nemirschi
Nicolae Nemirschi
Nicolae Nemirschi is a Romanian engineer and politician. A member of the Social Democratic Party , he was Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development in the Emil Boc cabinet from 2008 to 2009....

, the previous occupant of that ministry. In December, a new cabinet, also led by Boc, came into office; there, Udrea holds the Regional Development and Tourism portfolio. In July 2010, following the departure of Liviu Negoiţă
Liviu Negoita
Liviu Gheorghe "Livache" Negoiţă is a Romanian politician and lawyer, member of the Democratic Liberal Party and the mayor of Bucharest's Sector 3 since 2004.-Biography:...

, she became interim head of the Bucharest PD-L chapter, assuming the post on a permanent basis later that year when she was the only candidate to fill it, and vowing in her acceptance speech to "rid" the capital of independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

 Mayor
Mayor of Bucharest
The Mayor of Bucharest , sometimes known as the General Mayor, is the head of the Bucharest City Hall in Bucharest, Romania, which is responsible for city-wide affairs, such as the water system, the transport system and the main boulevards...

 Sorin Oprescu
Sorin Oprescu
Sorin Mircea Oprescu is a Romanian independent politician and medical doctor who is currently serving as Mayor of Bucharest.-Political activity:...

.

Personal life


The businessman Dorin Cocoş has been her husband since the couple married on Udrea's 30th birthday in 2003, at the Romanian Consulate in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.

In August 2011, Udrea generated controversy when she wore a Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana is an Italian luxury industry fashion house. The company was started by the Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana in Milan, Italy. By 2005 their turnover was €597 million....

 dress that some media outlets claimed cost £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

14,310, to which she responded that the actual cost was some twenty times less. Three months later, she appeared on the cover of the Romanian magazine Tabu wearing a rubber dress and thigh-high boots.

External links

Official site Profile at the Romanian Chamber of Deputies site Profile at the Romanian Government site