National Liberal Party (Romania)
The National Liberal Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Liberal, PNL) is a conservative-liberal and national liberal political party in Romania. Refounded in 1990, it claims the legacy of the major political party of the same name, active between 1875 and the late 1940s. Based on this legacy, it often presents itself as the first formally constituted political party in the country and the oldest party from the family of European liberal parties.
|Leader in the Senate||Iulian Dumitrescu|
|Leader in the Chamber of Deputies||Raluca Turcan|
|Headquarters||Modrogan nr 1, Sector 1, Bucharest|
|Student wing||Liberal Student Clubs (CSL)|
|Youth wing||National Liberal Youth (TNL)|
|Women's wing||Liberal Women National Organisation (ONFL)|
|Political position||Centre to Centre-right|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International
|European Parliament group||European People's Party Group|
|Colors||Yellow and Blue|
|Slogan||Prin noi înșine!
|Chamber of Deputies||
69 / 329
30 / 136
8 / 32
1,081 / 3,186
504 / 1,434
|Local Council Councilors||
13,198 / 40,067
Until 2014, the PNL was a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The party statutes adopted in June 2014 dropped any reference to international affiliation, consequently most of its MEPs joined the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament.
On 12 September 2014, it was admitted as a full member of the European People's Party, and subsequently merged with the Democratic Liberal Party. The party is also a member of the Liberal International and Centrist Democrat International.
The party was re-founded in January, 1990, days after the end of the 1989 Romanian revolution, being mainly centered around former youth liberal leaders like Radu Câmpeanu and Mircea Ionescu Quintus. At the 1990 general elections, PNL became the third largest party in Romania and its then leader, Radu Câmpeanu, finished second at the same year's presidential elections.
Shortly afterwards, most notably alongside the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚ-CD), but to a lesser extent also with other smaller center-right parties and NGOs, the PNL managed to form the Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR) in an effort to ensemble a stronger collective opposition and alternative governing body to then ruling National Salvation Front (FSN). However, prior to the 1992 general elections, Câmpeanu decided to withdraw the party from the CDR electoral alliance and instead compete as a stand-alone political force.
Ultimately, this proved to be a strategic error, as the party did not manage to surpass the needed electoral threshold for parliamentary presence and as such was forced to stay in extra-parliamentary opposition for the period 1992-1996. This also resulted in several splinters, with some PNL groups opting to remain within the CDR while others still supporting Câmpeanu's side.
Nevertheless, after a change of leadership, the PNL contested the 1996 general election once again as part of the CDR, this time being led by Mircea Ionescu Quintus. The 1996 general elections saw the first peaceful transition of power in post-1989 Romania, with the PNL, PNȚ-CD, Democratic Party (PD), and Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) forming a grand coalition that pushed the PDSR (formerly FSN) in opposition for the period 1996-2000. The presidency was also won by the CDR's common candidate, namely Emil Constantinescu, who received support on behalf of all of the alliance's constituent parties.
Because of the lack of coherence within the governing CDR between 1996 and 2000, the PNL decided once more to withdraw from the alliance before the 2000 general elections and compete alone. This time, the party managed to gain parliamentary presence but failed to form another centre-right government, finishing fourth at the legislative elections and third at the presidential elections.
During the early 2000s, the PNL joined forces with the PD in order to form the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) to compete in the 2004 general election as an alternative for the then ruling PSD (formerly PDSR) government. The alliance managed to finish second by popular vote in the parliament, subsequently form a centre-right cabinet, and also win the presidency during the same year.
Until April 2007, the PNL was the largest member of the governing Justice and Truth Alliance, which enjoyed a parliamentary majority due to an alliance between the PNL, PD, Liberal Democratic Party and the UDMR. In April 2007, then prime minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, who was also the party leader, formed a minority government only with the UDMR.
After the 2008 legislative election the party was placed in official opposition, winning 19.74% seats in the parliament, while the new grand coalition, formed by their former ally the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), had roughly 70%. At the 2009 presidential elections its then newly elected leader, Crin Antonescu, finished third and the party still found itself in parliamentary opposition.
On 5 February 2011, the PNL formed the Social Liberal Union (USL) political alliance with the PSD, National Union for the Progress of Romania and Conservative Party. The PNL exited the USL on 25 February 2014, disbanding the alliance and returning to opposition.
On 26 May 2014, following the 2014 European elections, PNL party president Crin Antonescu announced that he was seeking membership of the European People's Party (EPP). At the beginning of the 8th European Parliament, 5 of the PNL MEPs sat with the EPP Group, and 1 with the ALDE Group, who later became an independent MEP within ALDE.
In late May 2014 the party agreed to a future merger with the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), with the two parties submitting a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election. The PNL-PDL presidential candidate was agreed to run under an electoral banner called the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL).
On 27 June 2014, former PNL leader Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu announced his intention to found a separate liberal party to run for president, stating opposition to the upcoming merger with the PDL. The breakaway party, called the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR), was founded by Popescu-Tăriceanu on 3 July 2014.
On 17 July 2014 it was announced that the future merger of the PNL and PDL would retain the National Liberal Party name, while being situated in the PDL's existing headquarters in Bucharest, and would be legally registered by the end of 2014. On 26 July 2014, a joint party congress of the PNL and PDL approved the merger.
In the first round of the 2014 presidential election on 2 November 2014, ACL presidential candidate Klaus Iohannis, PNL party president and Mayor of Sibiu, was runner-up. Iohannis won the runoff election held on 16 November 2014 with 54.5% of the vote. At the 2016 local elections and legislative elections, the party managed to finish second, behind the PSD, and consequently continuously in opposition since then.
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The party adheres to the doctrine of liberalism in the form of liberal conservatism and national liberalism, advocating both economic and social liberalization. In recent years, it has focused more on economic liberalism. The National Liberal Party also supports the neutrality of the state in moral and religious issues, as well as the privatization and denationalization of the economy, a trend which is currently taking place quite rapidly in Romania, as in other post-communist economies.
Additionally, the party has also supported the introduction of a parliamentary system in which the president would be elected by the parliament rather than by the people to replace Romania's current semi-presidential system, which is based on the French model. It also advocates a decentralization of Romania's political structure, with greater autonomy given to the eight development regions.
According to the Statute, the leading organs of the party are the following:
The Congress, or The General Assembly of the delegates of the party's members (Romanian: Congresul; Adunarea Generală a delegaţilor membrilor partidului) is the supreme authority in the party. It leads the party and takes decisions at national level. Its members are elected by the local (territorial) organizations, and The National Consillium. The Congress meets every four years, after the parliamentary elections, or at any time needed. The Congress is convoked either by the Permanent Delegation (see below), at the request of the Central Political Bureau, or at the request of at least half of the Territorial Permanent Delegations. The Congress elects the President of the National Liberal Party, the 15 vice-presidents of the Central Standing Bureau (7 with specific attributions and 8 responsible for the development regions, 23 judges of The Honor and Referee Court (Romanian: Curtea de Onoare şi Arbitraj), 7 members of The Central Committee of Censors (Romanian: Comisia Centrală de Cenzori).
The last Congress took place between 5–6 March 2010, as both an Extraordinary and Ordinary Congress. The Extraordinary Congress took place on 5 March, because it was called three months earlier than the scheduled Ordinary Congress. It changed the Statute of the party. On 6 March the Congress was Ordinary, based on the new Statute.
The Permanent Delegation (Romanian: Delegaţia Permanentă – DP) is the structure that leads the party between two Congresses. It meets monthly, or at any time needed. Its members are the following; the President of the National Liberal Party, the members of the Central Political Bureau, the President of the Senate of the party, the Secretary General of the National Liberal Party, the presidents of the two Chambers of the Parliament (if the officeholders are members of the PNL), the leaders of the National liberal Party's parliamentary groups, the Senators and Deputies, the MEPs, the Ministers, the President of the National Liberal Youth (TNL), the President of the Liberal Women Organisation (OFL), the President of the Liberal Student Clubs (CSL), the President of the League of the Local Elected Officeholders of the National Liberal Party (LAL PNL), the President of the Coordinating Council of the Municipality of Bucharest, the European Commissioner (if the officeholder is member of the PNL).
National Political BureauEdit
The National Political Bureau (Romanian: Biroul Politic Național – BPN) of the National Liberal Party proposes the party's politics and coordinates its application. It ensures the party's day-to-day leadership, and it is composed by the following: the President of the party, the 15 Vice-Presidents (7 with specific charges, and 8 responsible for the development regions). At the BPC's meetings can assist, with consultative vote, the president of the Senate of the PNL, the Secretary-General of the PNL, the Presidents of the two Chambers of the Parliament (if the officeholders are members of the PNL), the leaders of the National liberal Party's parliamentary groups, the President of the TNL, the President of the OFL, the President of the CSL, the President of the League of the LAL, and the Ministers. The BPC meets weekley, or at any time needed, convoked by the president of the PNL.
According to Article 70 of the PNL Statute, the BPN coordinates and evaluates the objectives of the territorial branches, of the parliamentary groups; it negotiates political agreements (within the limits established by the DP); it coordinates the elections campaign; proposes sanctions according to the Statute; proposes to the DP the political strategy of the party; proposes the candidates for the central executive or public offices; for certain territorial units, proposes to the DP the candidates for the parliamentary elections; proposes to the DP the candidates for the European Parliament elections; proposes the DP to dissolve or dismiss, for exceptional reasons, the territorial branch, or the branch's president; convokes the DP; coordinates the activity of the permanent committees of the National Council, validates or invalidates the results of the elections for the territorial branches; appoints the Secretary-Executive, the Foreign Secretary, and Deputy-Secretaries-General.
The BPN is assisted, in the organizing activity by the Secretary General of the PNL. This office ensures the communication between the central organisms and the territorial branches, ensures the management of the party's assets, is responsible for the informational system. The Secretary-General is assisted by the Deputy-Secretaries-General, appointed by the BPC at the suggestion of the Secretary-General.
The National Political Bureau is composed of:
- President: Alina Gorghiu
- Honorary President: Mircea Ionescu-Quintus
- 1990 Founding President: Radu Câmpeanu
- Secretary General: Marian Petrache
- Vice-Presidents: Ludovic Orban, Teodor Atanasiu, Marin Almăjanu, Eduard Hellvig, Lucia Varga, Nicolae Robu, Cristian Bușoi, Ciprian Dobre, Marius Nicoară, Dan Motreanu, Cornel Popa, Cristian Buican, Nechita-Stelian Dolha, Victor Paul Dobre, Florin Alexe, Vasile Varga, Răducu Filipescu, Sorin Frunzăverde, Nini Săpunaru, Cristian Adomniței, Marcel Vela, Virgil Popescu, Gigel Știrbu, Vasile Mustățea, Florin Țurcanu, Mihai Voicu, Rareș Mănescu, Costel Caraș
- Vice-Leader of the PNL Parliamentary Group in the Senate: Doina-Anca Tudor
- Vice-Leader of the PNL Parliamentary Group in the Chamber of Deputies: Mugurel Cozmanciuc
- Vice-President of the Permanent Bureau in the Senate: Marius Lucian Obreja
In normal conditions, the term of the BPN members ends during the Party's Congress, when the president leaves the presidium of the Congress. The president of the Standing Bureau of the Congress is, formally, the acting president of the party until the new president is elected. The last acting president of the National Liberal Party was Mircea Ionescu-Quintus on 20 March 2009, when Crin Antonescu succeeded Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu.
The National Council (Romanian: Consiliul Naţional – CN) is the debate forum of the National Liberal Party between two Congresses. It reunites twice a year, or at any time necessary, convoked by the president, by the BPC, or at the request of at least half of its members. Its members are: DP, including the members with consultative vote; the Secretaries of State and the equivalent officeholders; the Prefects and Deputy-Prefects; Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the County Councils; Mayors and Deputy-Mayors of the county capitals, of the sectors of Bucharest, the General Mayor and General Deputy-Mayors of Bucharest; the Vice-Presidents and Secretaries-General of TNL, OFL, CSL, the Senate of the Party, LAL; honorary members of the party; the President of the structures that deal with specific issues; the Presidents of the CN.
The CN has the following competences: acts to fulfill the decisions of the Congress; adopts the Governing Program; adopts the programs and sectorial politics of the party; approves the reports of the specialty committees; names the candidate of the National Liberal Party for the Romanian Presidency; gives and retracts the quality of honorary member of the party.
According to Article 65 of the Statute, the CN is organized and functions through its permanent specialty committees, constituted on social and professional criteria. The committees constituted on social criteria promote the interests of the correspondent social category. The committees constituted on professional criteria state the sectorial politics and the public politics in major fields, to express the options and solutions proposed by the National Liberal Party.
The President of the National Liberal Party is the guardian of the political Program of the party, of the respect to the Statute and the keeping of the unity and prestige of the party.
The Secretary-General ensures the communication between the central leading structures and the territorial ones, ensures the management of the assets of the party, is responsible for the informational system. The Secretary-General is helped in its activity by Deputy-Secretaries-General appointed by the BPC, upon the suggestion of the Secretary-General.
Other national structuresEdit
- The Senate of the party – consulting organism for the president regarding the continuity and development of the liberal traditions and concepts;
- Court of Honor and Arbitration – the supreme court of the party;
- Central Committee of Censors – checks the management of the party;
- Ethics Commission – analyzes the candidates proposed for the legislative elections and for the offices in the Government as well as other central offices;
- National Liberal Youth – coordinates the activity specific to the youth structures in the territory;
- League of the Local Elected Officeholders – coordinates the activity of the PNL members in the local public administration (mayors and deputy-mayors, local councilors, county councilors, county council presidents, and deputy-presidents);
- Liberal Women Organisation – coordinates the activity of the territorial women organizations;
- Liberal Student Clubs – promotes the liberal ideas and political program of the PNL through the students.
Local leading structuresEdit
The local leading structures of the National Liberal Party are the following:
- the General Assembly of the Members (Romanian: Adunarea Generală a membrilor – AG) – applies at local level the necessary measures for fulfilling the Program and Strategy.
- the Standing Bureau of the organization (Romanian: Biroul Permanent – BP) – leads the organization between two General Assemblies.
This section needs to be updated.(July 2016)
Romanian law requires all parties to present a permanent sign and a permanent electoral sign. The former is used to identify the party's buildings and press releases, and the latter to identify the party's electoral materials and the candidates on the elections ballot. Usually they differ slightly.
The main element of the party is a blue arrow pointing to the upper right corner of a yellow square, and the letters P, N, and L in blue, tilted to the right. The position of the PNL with respect to the arrow depends on the type of symbol, as shown below. The color scheme of both signs can be reversed from yellow-blue to blue-yellow, depending on the background it is placed on.
Born - Died
|Portrait||Term start||Term end||Duration|
|15 January 1990||28 February 1993||3 years, 1 month and 13 days|
|2||Mircea Ionescu Quintus
|28 February 1993||18 February 2001||7 years, 11 months and 21 days|
|18 February 2001||24 August 2002||1 year, 6 months and 6 days|
|24 August 2002||2 October 2004||2 years, 1 month and 8 days|
|2 October 2004||20 March 2009||4 years, 5 months and 18 days|
|20 March 2009||2 June 2014||5 years, 2 months and 13 days|
|28 June 2014||18 December 2014||6 months and 16 days|
(Co-president w/ Gorghiu)
|18 December 2014||28 September 2016||1 year, 9 months and 10 days|
(Co-president w/ Blaga until 28 September 2016)
|12 December 2016||1 year, 11 months and 24 days|
|13 December 2016||17 June 2017||1 year, 1 month and 8 days|
|17 June 2017||present||7 months and 4 days|
- Klaus Iohannis, 5th President of Romania;
- Teodor Meleșcanu, former Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Foreign Minister and Minister of National Defence;
- Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, former Prime Minister and current President of the Senate;
- Eduard Hellvig, Member of the European Parliament and current Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service;
- Mircea Diaconu, former Minister of Culture and member of the European Parliament, actor;
- Mihai Stănișoară, former Minister of National Defence;
- Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu, former Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service;
- Norica Nicolai, MEP;
- Ovidiu Silaghi, former Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises and Minister of Transport;
- Radu Câmpeanu, first leader of the party after the 1989 revolution;
- Mircea Ionescu-Quintus, second leader of the party after the Romanian revolution, in office between 1993 and 2001, former President of the Senate and Minister of Justice;
- Radu Stroe, former Minister of Interior;
- Renate Weber, MEP, jurist.
- Ludovic Orban, current party leader, former Minister of Transport;
- Crin Antonescu, leader of the party between 2009 and 2014, former Minister of Youth and Sports, President of the Senate and Acting President of Romania (July–August 2012);
- Vasile Blaga, former co-leader of the party between 2014 and 2016, former speaker of the Senate;
- Alina Gorghiu, former co-leader of the party between 2014 and 2016;
- Raluca Turcan, former ad interim president of the party in 2017;
- Theodor Stolojan, leader of the party between 2002 and 2004, former Prime Minister of Romania (1991–1992);
- Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, former Prime Minister of Romania (2008–2012);
- Gheorghe Flutur, President of the Suceava County Council, former Minister of Agriculture;
- Teodor Atanasiu, former Minister of National Defence;
- Eugen Nicolăescu, former Minister of Health;
- Daniel Dăianu, MEP, former Minister of Finance, and member of the Romanian Academy;
- Ramona Mănescu, MEP and former Minister of Transport;
- Sorin Frunzăverde, President of the Caraș-Severin County Council, MEP, former Minister of Environment, Minister of Tourism and Defence Minister;
- Andrei Marga, former Minister of Education, Minister of External Affairs and rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University.
29 / 395
10 / 119
0 / 341
0 / 143
|1996||3,772,084||30.70 (as CDR)||
37 / 343
19 / 143
|1st (as CDR)||Coalition|
30 / 345
13 / 140
|2004||3,250,663||31.77 (as DA)||
60 / 332
24 / 137
|2nd (as DA)||Coalition|
65 / 334
28 / 137
|2012||4,457,526||60.10 (as USL)||
100 / 412
50 / 176
|1st (as USL)||Electoral alliance with PSD4|
69 / 329
30 / 136
1 Although officially in opposition between 1990–1991, the PNL took part in the Stolojan Cabinet between late 1991 and late 1992, having been given three ministers (specifically Justice, Economy and Finance as well as Industry).
2 In April, 1992 (several months prior to the year's legislative elections), PNL left the CDR. However, two splinter groups, PNL-AT and PNL-CD, remained in the alliance, which scored 20.16% (or 2,210,722 votes), and were awarded 11 seats (of which 1 in the Senate), respectively 7 seats (of which 4 in the Senate). Subsequently, PNL-AT merged with other minor liberal groups (including a splinter of the PNL-CD) to form the Liberal Party '93 (PL '93). Eventually, PL '93 changed its name to the Liberal Party in 1997, after absorbing yet another faction of PNL-CD, and, after a split in 1998, one of its factions rejoined the PNL in 1999.
3 There was also another liberal splinter faction called 'National Liberal Party - Câmpeanu' that ran in the 2000 elections and scored 1.22% (or 133,018 votes) for the Senate and 1.30% (or 151,518 votes) for the Chamber of Deputies, thus not surpassing the needed threshold for parliamentary presence and entering in extra-parliamentary opposition.
4 Subsequently represented official first opposition between 2014–2016, just after having withdrawn from the government.
|Election||Candidate||First round||Second round|
1 Emil Constantinescu was the common centre-right candidate that was supported by the PNL in both 1992 and 1996 as part of the larger Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR).
2 Traian Băsescu was the common centre-right candidate that was supported by the PNL in 2004 as part of the Justice and Truth Alliance (D.A.) alongside the now defunct Democratic Party (PD).
3 Although Klaus Johannis was a member of the PNL, he was the common centre-right candidate that was supported by the party in 2014 as part of the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL) alongside the now defunct Democratic Liberal Party (PDL).
4 Incumbent president of the PNL, Ludovic Orban, already stated that the party will sustain the candidacy of Klaus Iohannis once more for the forthcoming 2019 Romanian presidential elections.
6 / 35
|3rd||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)|
5 / 33
|3rd||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)|
6 / 32
|2nd||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)1|
|2019||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD||European People's Party (EPP)|
1 Subsequently sought permission to adhere to the European People's Party (EPP).
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