Ludovic Orban (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈludovik ˈorban]; born May 25, 1963) is a Romanian engineer and politician. A member of the National Liberal Party (PNL), he was Minister of Transport from April 2007 to December 2008 in the second Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu cabinet. He was also a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bucharest from 2008 to 2016.
He and his wife Mihaela have one son. His brother is the former European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban.
He was born in Braşov to an ethnic Hungarian father and an ethnic Romanian mother. Orban completed secondary studies at the city's Andrei Şaguna High School in 1982. He then studied automobile design technology at the University of Braşov, graduating in 1988. In 1993, he completed post-graduate studies in Political Science at the National School of Administration and Political Science of Bucharest. From 1988 to 1990 he trained as an engineer at a factory in Târgu Secuiesc, and worked as one at a Braşov factory from 1990 to 1991. From 1991 to 1992, he wrote for the daily Viitorul Românesc, and from 1992 to 1997 he was an advisor for the Liberal Party 1993 and its predecessor. Between 1997 and 2001 he held a series of government and agency positions: at the Energy Policy Agency, the Disabled Persons Directorate, the Public Information Department, the National Public Employee Agency and the National Centre for Communications and Public Relations Specialisation. He has also been active in a foundation called Children, the light of the world and done consulting work.
Orban served as a Sector 3 local councillor from 1992 to 1996. He was elected a Sector 1 local councillor that year, but resigned. From 1993 to 1997 he belonged to the executive committee of the Liberal Party 1993, and in 1998 joined the PNL's national council, after the former party merged into it. From 2001 to 2002 he sat on the PNL's permanent central bureau, and in 2002 joined the party's public administration committee. He has headed the Bucharest chapter of the PNL since November 2002, and from July 2004 to April 2007 was Vice Mayor of Bucharest. He left this office following a cabinet reshuffle, becoming Transport Minister and serving until his party's loss at the 2008 election, where he himself won a seat in a Bucharest constituency. While minister, he also ran for Mayor of Bucharest as part of the 2008 local elections, losing in the first round by finishing in fourth place with 11.4% of the vote. In March 2009, concurrent with his ally Crin Antonescu's ascent to the PNL presidency and the sidelining of the Tăriceanu faction, Orban became the party's vice president. He ran for the party presidency in December 2014, and was defeated by Alina Gorghiu on a 47-28 vote. Orban was a candidate in the June 2016 race for mayor of Bucharest, but two months before the election, withdrew from the race as well as from his PNL and Chamber posts after being placed under investigation by the National Anticorruption Directorate. He was not a candidate in the 2016 election. In January 2017, the High Court of Cassation and Justice acquitted Orban on a charge of influence peddling.
Orban is a somewhat controversial figure, known for his provocative declarations. A fierce critic of President Traian Băsescu, he called him an "imbecile" for referring to the "imbecile" attitude of a minister during summer 2008 floods, and once shouted, "The President is the last Sauron to rule in this realm of darkness!" He also criticises the Emil Boc government, composed of the Băsescu-associated PD-L and the Social Democrats, referring to the latter party's leader Mircea Geoană as Băsescu's "steward"; and attacking cabinet policies on education, tourism promotion (which he sees as an unnecessary luxury), and the financial crisis (where he foresees the government being unable to pay pensions and salaries). Speaking to a group of female PNL members in Alba County in March 2006, he drew accusations of sexism for stating, "You need not go through any boss's bed to reach important public positions", declaring that Raluca Turcan (then a party colleague), Mioara Mantale and Elena Udrea had done so, but not Mona Muscă or Norica Nicolai. Driving in Cotroceni in December 2007, his car hit a 16-year-old girl, forcing her hospitalisation; despite a call by the prime minister for his resignation, Orban refused to do so and prosecutors ultimately decided not to pursue criminal charges, although his license was suspended and he was fined.