Romanian Democratic Convention

The Romanian Democratic Convention (Romanian: Convenţia Democrată Română or Convenția Democratică Română; abbreviated CDR) was an electoral alliance of several democratic, anti-Communist, anti-totalitarian, and centre-right political parties in Romania, active from 1991 until 2000. The most prominent leaders of the CDR throughout the 1990s were by far Corneliu Coposu, Ion Rațiu, and Ion Diaconescu, all three members of the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚCD) - successor and political heir to the National Peasants' Party (PNȚ), active in the Kingdom of Romania between 1926 and 1948).

Romanian Democratic Convention
Convenția Democrată Română
LeaderCorneliu Coposu
Emil Constantinescu
Founded26 November 1991 (1991-11-26)
DissolvedDecember 2000 (2000-12)
IdeologyLiberal democracy
Conservative liberalism
Christian democracy
Political positionCentre to centre-right
Colours  Yellow
SloganRomanian: Cheia e la tine! (You hold the key)

The name of the CDR was coined by Sergiu Cunescu, the leader of the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR), as stated in a late 1990s interview by former PNL re-founding president Radu Câmpeanu at Marius Tucă Show by talk show journalist Marius Tucă.[1]


Political compositionEdit

Seat allocation following the 1990 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNL 29 10
PNȚCD 12 1
PER 8 1
51 / 395
12 / 119

The core members of the CDR included the following political parties:[2]

Eventually, some parties left (more specifically, the main faction of the PNL between 1992 and 1996, as well as the PAC, PSDR, and UDMR/RMDSZ in 1995), while other minor parties joined or were created between mergers within the alliance such as the Liberal Party '93 (PL '93) or the Union of Right-leaning Forces (UFD).

1991–1992: FoundationEdit

Seat allocation following the 1992 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNȚCD 41 21
PAC 13 7
PNL-AT 11 1
PSDR 10 1
PNL-CD 3 4
82 / 341
34 / 143

CDR was founded in 1991, one year before the 1992 elections, mainly by the PNŢCD and the National Liberal Party (PNL). In addition, aside from the aforementioned political forces, several other noteworthy civic and cultural organisations, foundations, and other minor political parties were involved in the foundational process.

Initially, the planned name of the CDR was "The National Convention for Democracy Implementation" (Romanian: Convenţia Națională pentru Implementarea Democrației). Subsequently, the main purpose of the CDR was to amount an effective opposition against the then all-dominating National Salvation Front (FSN), a huge parliamentary bloc made up mostly of former second and third rank members of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR), which assumed leadership of the country shortly after the 1989 Revolution. According to a later interview by Emil Constantinescu, the former President of Romania claimed that the FSN was actually made of former first rank members of the PCR.

1992–1996: OppositionEdit

For the period 1992–1996, CDR was the main political opposition force in the Parliament of Romania and in the local administration as well. Although the convention won the capital city of Bucharest and much of the larger urban centres at the 1992 local elections, FSN swept over almost all rural areas and small towns.

The alliance also included the UDMR/RMDSZ, which ran on a separate list, and a number of minor parties and civic organisations that failed to gain parliamentary representation: the Democratic Unity Party, the Christian Democratic Union, the Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER), the Civic Alliance (PAC), and others. Prior to the 1992 general elections, the PNL led by Radu Câmpeanu withdrew from the CDR.

At the 1992 general elections, Emil Constantinescu was the presidential candidate of the convention. He managed to qualify in the second round where he finished second with an electoral score of 38.57% (or 4,641,207 votes).

1996–2000: GovernmentEdit

Seat allocation following the 1996 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNȚCD 81 25
PNL 28 22
PNL-CD 4 1
PAR 3 3
PER 5 1
FER 1 1
122 / 343
53 / 143

In 1993, the PNL led by Mircea Ionescu-Quintus returned within the CDR. Subsequently, the CDR managed to win the 1996 Romanian elections, and the alliance's presidential candidate, once again Emil Constantinescu, became president with 54.41% (or 7,057,906 votes). The 1996 Romanian general election represented the first peaceful transition of power in the democratic history of Romania after the fall of Communism.

For the period 1996–2000, the CDR formed a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Union (an alliance between the Democratic Party and PSDR) and the UDMR/RMDSZ (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania). At governing level, this grand coalition resulted in the Ciorbea Cabinet (1996–1998), Vasile Cabinet (1998–1999), and Isărescu Cabinet (1999–2000).

2000–2004: CDR 2000 and extra-parliamentary oppositionEdit

Due to internal frictions within the alliance (as well as given the somewhat inconsistent and turbulent governing from 1996 to 2000), the PNL decided to withdraw from the CDR prior to the 2000 general elections. Nonetheless, PNȚCD and other parties ran on the CDR 2000 common list for these elections. The alliance did not manage to score the same positive results as it did during the 1990s and, consequently, shortly disbanded since it did not pass the electoral threshold. However, it expressed extra-parliamentary opposition between 2000 and 2004 towards the minority PDSR government led by Adrian Năstase.

Presidents and notable leadersEdit

The two presidents of the CDR: Corneliu Coposu (left) and Emil Constantinescu (right)

As of 2022, of all the aforementioned leaders of the CDR, only Constantinescu and Frunda are still alive.

Electoral historyEdit

Legislative electionsEdit

Election Chamber Senate Position Aftermath
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1992 2,117,144 19.46
82 / 341
2,210,722 20.16
34 / 143
 2nd 1 Opposition to PDSR-PUNR-PRM-PSM government (1992–1996)
1996 3,692,321 30.17
122 / 343
3,772,084 30.70
53 / 143
 1st 2 CDR-USD-UDMR government (1996–2000)
2000 546,135 5.04
0 / 140
575,706 5.29
0 / 140
(as CDR 2000)3
Extra-parliamentary opposition to PDSR minority government (2000–2004)


1 CDR members in 1992: PNȚCD (21 senators and 41 deputies), PAC (7 senators and 13 deputies), PNL-AT (1 senator and 11 deputies), PSDR (1 senator and 10 deputies), PNL-CD (4 senators and 3 deputies), and PER (no senators and 4 deputies).
2 CDR members in 1996: PNȚCD (25 senators and 81 deputies), PNL (22 senators and 28 deputies), PNL-CD (1 senator and 4 deputies), PAR (3 senators and 3 deputies), PER (1 senator and 5 deputies), and Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER - 1 senator and 1 deputy).
3 CDR 2000 members: PNȚCD, UFD, Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER), National Christian Democratic Alliance (ANCD), and The Moldavians Party (PM).

Local electionsEdit

National resultsEdit

Election County Councilors (CJ) Mayors Local Councilors (CL) Popular vote % Position
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1996 1,667,417 19.53
307 / 1,718
2,712,852 26.27
355 / 2,954
1,786,077 19.58
6,525 / 33,429
Election County Presidents (PCJ) Position
Votes % Seats
6 / 41
15 / 41
1 / 41

Mayor of BucharestEdit

Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1996 Victor Ciorbea

Presidential electionsEdit

Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1992 Emil Constantinescu1 3,717,006
 2nd  4,641,207
1996 Emil Constantinescu1 3,569,941
 2nd  7,057,906
2000 Mugur Isărescu2 1,069,463
 4th  not qualified


1 Emil Constantinescu was the common centre-right candidate who was endorsed by the PNȚCD both in 1992 and 1996 as part of the CDR.
2 Mugur Isărescu was endorsed by the PNȚCD at the 2000 elections as part of the re-named CDR 2000 alliance.

Timeline of the political composition of the CDR with all of its constituent parties (1991–2000)Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Radu Câmpeanu și Niculae Cerveni invitați la Marius Tucă Show". Marius Tucă Show. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  2. ^ Roper, Steven D. (Winter 1997). "From Opposition To Government Coalition: Unity And Fragmentation Within The Democratic Convention Of Romania". East European Quarterly. 31 (4): 519.


  • Dan Pavel, Iulia Huia, <<Nu putem reuşi decît împreună.>> O istorie analitică a Convenţiei Democratice, 1989-2000, Editura Polirom, Iaşi, 2003
  • Roper, Steven D., <<From Opposition to Government Coalition: Unity and Fragmentation within the Democratic Convention of Romania.>>, East European Quarterly, 1997. Vol. 31, 4: 519–542.