There is still disagreement as to how spontaneous the 1989 revolution was. The general view is that the uprising was a popular one, but soon taken over by the National Salvation Front (apparently formed some six months earlier).
Caritas ('Charity') was a pyramid scheme started by Ion Stoica in June 1992 (the claim was that profits were to go to 'good works', hence the name). Cluj became the main centre (Stoica enjoying the support of the extreme right-wing nationalist leader Gheorghe Funar, the mayor of Cluj). Pyramid schemes promise large returns, but are bound to fail in the long run because out-payments rely on ever-increasing new donations. Regular payments began to be missed in autumn 1993, but it was not until February 1994 that the local authorities closed down a recently opened branch in Snagov. Action was then taken against other schemes. On 19 May Stoica announced that he was to close the scheme down. He was arrested on 24 August 1994 and in mid-June 1995 he was sentenced to six years in jail. (In October 1995 the court of appeal knocked four years off the sentence: Independent, 23 October 1995, p. 12.)
The government survived a series of no-confidence votes in 1993, e.g. one in December. In February 1994 negotiations about a possible coalition government began between the Social Democracy Party of Romania (see below) and the extreme right-wing nationalist parties.
Gypsies (Roma) account for about 8 per cent of the population (IHT, 3 April 2000, p. 6). According to the European Roma Rights Centre, there are more than 1.8 million Gypsies in Romania (Independent, 9 August 2000, p. 14). There is still widespread discrimination against Gypsies.
There are 1.7 million ethnic Hungarians and 2 million Gypsies (FT, 13 May 1994, p. 2). Another source puts the figure in the range 1.6 million to 2 million Hungarians (IHT, 6 July 1994, pp. 1, 4).