National Liberal Party (Romania)

The National Liberal Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Liberal, PNL) is the first and most significant centre-right conservative-liberal[19] and liberal-conservative[20] political party in Romania. Refounded in early 1990, shortly after the violent 1989 Romanian Revolution, it claims the legacy of the major political party of the same name, active between 1875 and 1947 in the Kingdom of Romania. 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.[21]

National Liberal Party

Partidul Național Liberal
AbbreviationPNL
PresidentLudovic Orban
Secretary-GeneralRobert-Ionatan Sighiartău
SpokesmanIonel Dancă[1]
Leader in the SenateCătălin-Daniel Fenechiu
Leader in the Chamber of DeputiesFlorin Roman
Leader in the European ParliamentRareș Bogdan
Founded15 January 1990 (re-established after the Romanian Revolution)[2][3]
Preceded byNational Liberal Party
(1875–1947/1950)[4][5]
HeadquartersModrogan nr 1, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania
Student wingLiberal Student Clubs (CSL)
Youth wingNational Liberal Youth (TNL)
Women's wingLiberal Women National Organisation (ONFL)
Membership (2018)253,895[6]
Ideology
Political positionCentre[9] to centre-right[10][11]
National affiliationRomanian Democratic Convention
(1991–1992; 1993–1999)[12]
Justice and Truth Alliance
(2003–2007)
Centre Right Alliance
(2011–2013)
Social Liberal Union
(2011–2014)
Christian Liberal Alliance (2014)
European affiliationEuropean People's Party (EPP)
International affiliationCentrist Democrat International
European Parliament groupEuropean People's Party
Colours  Yellow
  Blue
SloganPrin noi înșine!
("Through Ourselves!")
Anthem"Verde-nrourat"[13]
"Dewy Green"
Senate
41 / 136
[14]
Chamber of Deputies
93 / 330
[15]
European Parliament
10 / 33
[16]
Mayors
1,232 / 3,176
[17]
County Presidents
17 / 41
[17]
County Councilors
474 / 1,340
[17]
Local Council Councilors
14,182 / 39,900
[17]
Ministers
8 / 18
[a]
Website
pnl.ro
  • Politics of Romania
  • Political parties
  • Elections

a. ^ + the Prime Minister
[18]

Until 2014, the PNL was a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).[22] 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 (EPP) in the European Parliament.

On 12 September 2014, it was admitted as a full member of the European People's Party (EPP),[23] and subsequently merged with the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL). The party was also a member of the Liberal International (LI)[24] before switching to Centrist Democrat International (CDI).[25] Currently, it is the second-largest party in the Romanian Parliament, with 93 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 41 in the Senate, behind the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD). Additionally, the party currently has the largest amount of MEPs in the European Parliament on behalf of Romania.

At local political level, the PNL has been very closely associated with either the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania (FDGR/DFDR), more specifically in parts of Banat and Transylvania, or, formerly, with the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚ-CD), in southern Romania.

After it won the 2020 local elections, the PNL became the first political party in Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina, establishing new political alliances with, most notably, USR PLUS shortly thereafter. Moreover, as of 2021, the PNL also holds the largest amount of incumbent county councillors and local councillors nationwide, making it, in these regards, the most influential political party in Romania at local level.

History

1990–2000: Re-foundation and first governing experiences after the 1989 Revolution

Liberal political groups integrated within the National Liberal Party during the 1990s.

The National Liberal Party of Romania (PNL) was re-founded in January 1990, a few days after the end of the violent 1989 Romanian Revolution. During the early 1990s, the party primarily revolved around the presidencies of Radu Câmpeanu and Mircea Ionescu-Quintus, both former members of the historical PNL and liberal youth leaders during the interwar period as well as during and shortly after World War II.

At the 1990 general elections, the PNL became the third largest party in the Parliament of Romania and its then re-founding leader, Radu Câmpeanu, finished second in the same year's presidential elections, with 10.6% of the cast votes, behind Ion Iliescu. In December 1990, the Socialist Liberal Party (PSL) led by Niculae Cerveni established an alliance with the PNL and the latter became vice-president of the PNL led by Câmpeanu at that time.[26]

Shortly afterwards, at the main request and 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 assemble a stronger collective opposition and alternative governing body to then ruling National Salvation Front (FSN), which was, in many ways, the heir of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR). 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. One of the main reasons for doing so was Câmpeanu's reluctance for the PNL to run on common lists with the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR).

Central headquarters of the PNL located on Modrogan Alley, Bucharest (2014)

This had ultimately proven to be an eventual major strategic error for the PNL, as the party did not manage to surpass the needed electoral threshold for parliamentary presence and as such was forced to enter extra-parliamentary opposition for the period 1992–1996. Furthermore, this political decision also resulted in several splinter factions leaving the main party, with some PNL deflecting groups opting to remain within the CDR while others still supporting Câmpeanu's side in a new party which was called PNL-C (Romanian: Partidul Național Liberal-Câmpeanu). Therefore, the factions which deflected from the main PNL and aligned themselves with the CDR were PNL-CD (led by Niculae Cerveni), PNL-AT, and PL '93. Other minor liberal political parties such as PAC and UFD (which later merged into the main PNL) were also part of the CDR throughout the late 1990s.

Nevertheless, after a change of leadership that saw Ionescu-Quintus as the new party leader elected in 1995, the PNL contested the 1996 general election once again as part of the CDR.[27] The 1996 general elections represented the first peaceful transition of power in post-1989 Romania, with the PNL, PNȚ-CD, Democratic Party (PD), and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) forming a grand coalition that pushed the PDSR (formerly the FSN and FDSN) in opposition for the period 1996–2000. Furthermore, the presidency was also won by the CDR's common candidate, more specifically Emil Constantinescu, who received support on behalf of all of the alliance's constituent parties (including the PNL political groups therein).

2000–2010: Opposition and second governing experiences

Between 1996 and 2000, because of the lack of political coherence within the parties of the governing CDR coalition and the multiple changes of cabinets that followed, the PNL decided once more to withdraw from the alliance just before the 2000 general election and, consequently, to compete alone instead. This time, the party managed to gain parliamentary presence but failed to form another centre-right government, finishing fourth in the legislative elections and third in the presidential election. However, a splinter group founded by Dan Amedeo Lăzărescu and led by Decebal Traian Remeș named PNL-T (Romanian: PNL Tradițional) decided to remain within CDR 2000 and contest that year's general election by supporting Mugur Isărescu as presidential candidate.

Therefore, during the mid 2000s, the PNL joined forces with the PD in order to form the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA)[27] so as to compete in the 2004 general election as an alternative to 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, the Conservative Party (PC), and the UDMR.[28] In April 2007, then PNL Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, who was also the party leader, formed a minority government solely with the UDMR and the remainder PD ministers were reshuffled. This cause internal opposition within the party and led to a splinter group, the Liberal Democratic Party (PLD), eventually merging with the PD to form the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL).

After the 2008 legislative election, the party placed third and entered official opposition, winning 19.74% seats in the Parliament, while the new grand coalition, formed by their former enlarged ally, the Democrat Liberals (PDL) and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), obtained roughly 70% together. At the 2009 presidential election, the National Liberal Party's then newly elected leader, Crin Antonescu, finished third in the first round and the party still found itself in parliamentary opposition for the three next years to come up until the accession of the Social Liberal Union (USL) to governance in mid 2012.

2010–2020: USL, ACL, and third governing experiences

On 5 February 2011, the PNL formed the Social Liberal Union (USL) political alliance with the PSD, the National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR), and the Conservative Party (PC).[29][30] The PNL subsequently exited the USL on 25 February 2014, disbanding the alliance and returning to opposition.[31] On 26 May 2014, following the 2014 European elections, then PNL party president Crin Antonescu announced he was seeking membership within the European People's Party (EPP).[32][33] At the beginning of the 8th European Parliament, 5 of the PNL MEPs sat with the EPP Group,[34] and 1 with the ALDE Group,[35] 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 main short-time goal being to submit a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election.[36] The PNL-PDL presidential candidate was agreed to run under an electoral banner called the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL).[37][38]

On 27 June 2014, former PNL chairman 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.[39] The breakaway party, called the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR), was founded by Popescu-Tăriceanu on 3 July 2014.[40] 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.[41] On 26 July 2014, a joint party congress of the PNL and PDL approved the merger.[42]

Diagram showcasing the political evolution of the National Liberal Party (PNL), from 1990 until 2016.

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 (German: Hermannstadt, Transylvanian Saxon: Härmeschtat), was the runner-up.[43] Iohannis won the runoff election held on 16 November 2014 with 54.5% of the total number of votes.[44][45] At the 2016 local elections and legislative elections, the PNL managed to finish second, behind the PSD, and consequently in continuous opposition until 2019 when it regained central power.

Regarding the 2019 presidential election, the party had formally announced its support for a second term of incumbent state president Klaus Iohannis in March 2018 along with an official designation of Ludovic Orban, current party president, for the position of Prime Minister should the PNL win the 2020 legislative elections.[46][47] In June 2018, at an open air press conference in his native Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt, Transylvanian Saxon: Härmeschtat), Iohannis publicly announced his intention to run for a second presidential term.[48]

The year 2019 saw two minor parties adhering to the PNL, namely the PND (led by Daniel Fenechiu) and PACT (led by Sebastian Burduja), thereby increasing its total number of members. In late 2019, the National Liberal Party acceded to governance under a minority stand-alone government led by Orban which was voted twice by the Parliament (under, most notably, a confidence and supply agreement with USR and PMP as well as most ethnic minority parties, including most importantly the FDGR). At national level, the greatest two challenges that the Orban cabinet tried to monitor, control, and solve are the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as its affiliated recession.

2020–present: Alliance with USR PLUS and fourth governing experiences

The PNL ran in several electoral alliances with USR PLUS for the 2020 Romanian local elections, winning the mayor of Bucharest (along with several of the capital's sectors) as well as many other municipalities throughout the countryside. Shortly thereafter, the PNL decided to form local alliances with, most notably, USR PLUS, PMP, and FDGR (as well as with two local branches of the PNȚ-CD and UDMR in Hunedoara County). After the 2020 Romanian legislative election, the party agreed to form a coalition government alongside USR PLUS and UDMR in order to provide a stable governance for the next 4 years in Romania.

Furthermore, incumbent party president Ludovic Orban decided to step down as Prime Minister in early December 2020, letting Nicolae Ciucă acting until the new coalition received the confidence vote in the Parliament after the 2020 legislative elections concluded with concrete, positive results on behalf of a future center-right government. Subsequently, the newly proposed Prime Minister on behalf of the PNL was Florin Cîțu, formerly Minister of Public Finance. He took office on 23 December 2020, after an overwhelming confidence vote in the Parliament (260 for in counterpart to 186 against).

On 25 September 2021, a new party congress will be held with 5,000 delegates.[49] At the forthcoming congress, incumbent party president Ludovic Orban will face incumbent PM Florin Cîțu for the leadership of the party for the upcoming years (although it has been rumoured that Dan Motreanu, former Minister for Agriculture in the First Tăriceanu Cabinet between 2006 and 2007, would also announce his candidacy at a later point).[50] This new congress will also determine the leadership of PNL at each and every level within the party nationwide. Up until the date of the congress, Orban will remain party president.

Ideology

The party adheres to the doctrine of liberalism in the form of conservative liberalism and national liberalism, advocating both economic and social liberalization.[51] In recent years, it has focused more on economic liberalism. The National Liberal Party (PNL) also supports conservative initiatives and policies and 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 in Central and Eastern Europe.

In economic regards, the National Liberal Party (PNL) also deems significant the fact that taxes must be lowered and that the private sector of the national economy must be expanded and helped by a series of new laws in order to generate more value.[52] It also advocates a decentralization of Romania's political structure, with greater autonomy given to the eight development regions.

Structure

According to the Statute, the leading organs of the party are the following:[53]

Congress

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.

Permanent Delegation

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 Bureau

The National Political Bureau (Romanian: Biroul Politic Național – BPN) of the National Liberal Party (PNL) 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 weekly, 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.

As of 2018, the National Political Bureau is composed of the following members:[54]

  • President: Ludovic Orban;
  • Secretary General: Robert Sighiartău;
  • Vice-Presidents: Ilie Bolojan, Raluca Turcan, Iulian Dumitrescu, Mircea Hava, Vlad Nistor, Laurențiu Leoreanu, Ben-Oni Ardelean, Florin Cîțu, Dan Motreanu, Adrian Oros, Virgil Guran, Ioan Bălan, Victor Paul Dobre, Răducu Filipescu, Gigel Știrbu, Gheorghe Falcă, Lucian Bode, Florin Roman, Marian Petrache, Cristian Bușoi;
  • Leader of the PNL Parliamentary Group in the Senate: Iulian Dumitrescu;
  • Leader of the PNL Parliamentary Group in the Chamber of Deputies: Raluca Turcan.

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 (PNL) was Mircea Ionescu-Quintus on 20 March 2009, when Crin Antonescu succeeded Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu.

National Council

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.

President

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.

Secretary-General

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 structures

  • 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 structures

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.

Symbol

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.

Leadership

  Also served as state vice president in the Provisional National Unity Council (Romanian: Consiliul Provizoriu de Uniune Națională) during the early 1990s
  Also served as ad interim (i.e. acting) President of Romania
  Also served as President of Romania
  Also served as Prime Minister
  Also served as Senate President
Name
Born - Died
Portrait Term start Term end Duration
1 Radu Câmpeanu
(1922–2016)
15 January 1990 28 February 1993 3 years, 1 month and 13 days
2 Mircea Ionescu-Quintus
(1917–2017)
28 February 1993 18 February 2001 7 years, 11 months and 21 days
3 Valeriu Stoica
(1953–
18 February 2001 24 August 2002 1 year, 6 months and 6 days
4 Theodor Stolojan
(1943–
24 August 2002 2 October 2004 2 years, 1 month and 8 days
5 Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu
(1952–
2 October 2004 20 March 2009 4 years, 5 months and 18 days
6 Crin Antonescu
(1959–
20 March 2009 2 June 2014 5 years, 2 months and 13 days
7 Klaus Iohannis
(1959–
28 June 2014 18 December 2014 6 months and 16 days
8 Vasile Blaga1
(1956–
18 December 2014 28 September 2016 1 year, 9 months and 10 days
Alina Gorghiu2
(1978–
18 December 2014 12 December 2016 1 year, 11 months and 24 days
Raluca Turcan
(Interim)
(1976–
13 December 2016 17 June 2017 6 months and 4 days
9 Ludovic Orban3
(1963–
17 June 2017 Incumbent 3 years, 11 months and 14 days

Notes:

1 Co-president along with Alina Gorghiu until 28 September 2016 when he resigned from this dignity.
2 Co-president along with Vasile Blaga until 28 September 2016. Afterwards, sole party leader until the end of her term.
3 Orban has been also serving as President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania since December 2020.

Presidency span (1990–present)

Notable members

Current notable members

  • Dinu Zamfirescu, one of the 12 founding members of the PNL in January 1990, former BBC reporter, and human rights activist;
  • Florin Cîțu, current Prime Minister since December 2020 and former Minister of Public Finance between 2019 and 2020;
  • Nicolae Ciucă, current Minister of National Defence, former acting Prime Minister in December 2020;
  • Ludovic Orban, current party president and former Prime Minister of Romania between 2019 and 2020, former Minister of Transport between 2007 and 2008;
  • Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, former Prime Minister of Romania (2008–2012);
  • Cătălin Predoiu, former Minister of Justice and acting Prime Minister of Romania (2012);
  • Leonard Orban, economist, former European Commissioner on multilingualism;
  • 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-president of the party between 2014 and 2016, former President of the Senate of Romania between 2011 and 2012;
  • Alina Gorghiu, lawyer, former co-president of the party (2014–2016), member of Chamber of Deputies (2008–2016) and former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, currently senator of Timiș;
  • Nicolae Robu, the Mayor of Timișoara between 2012 and 2020, former senator in Romanian Parliament (2008–2012), member of the Central Bureau and the National Executive Council of the party and former rector of the Politechnic Institute of Timișoara (2004–2012), currently university professor;
  • Mircea Hava, former mayor of Alba Iulia and current MEP since 2019;
  • Gheorghe Falcă, former mayor of Arad and current MEP since 2019;
  • Raluca Turcan, former acting president of the party in 2017;
  • Theodor Stolojan, former president of the party between 2002 and 2004, former Prime Minister of Romania (1991–1992), and MEP;
  • Andrei Chiliman, former mayor of Sector 1 in Bucharest;
  • Crin Halaicu, former mayor of Bucharest (1992–1996) and businessman;
  • 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;
  • Siegfried Mureșan, MEP, spokesman and vice-president of the European People's Party;
  • Andrei Marga, former Minister of Education, Minister of External Affairs and rector of the Babeș-Bolyai University;
  • Hermann Fabini, architect, art historian, and former senator;
  • Roberta Anastase, former President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania (2008–2012);
  • Adrian Cioroianu, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, historian and journalist;
  • Ovidiu Raețchi, political analyst;
  • Adriana Săftoiu, spokeswoman and political advisor;
  • Sorin Cîmpeanu, former and current Minister of National Education;
  • Daniel Constantin, former Deputy Prime Minister of Romania, former Minister of Environment, and former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Former notable members

  • Klaus Iohannis, 5th and incumbent President of Romania;
  • Eduard Hellvig, Member of the European Parliament and current Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service;
  • Sorin Frunzăverde, President of the Caraș-Severin County Council, MEP, former Minister of Environment, Minister of Tourism and Defence Minister;
  • Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu, former Prime Minister of Romania (February–May, 2012) and Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service;
  • Radu Câmpeanu, first president of the party after the 1989 revolution;
  • Mircea Ionescu-Quintus, second president of the party after the Romanian revolution, serving between 1993 and 2001, former President of the Senate, and former Minister of Justice;
  • Neagu Djuvara, historian and diplomat;
  • Petre Țuțea, philosopher;
  • Nicolae Manolescu, literary critic;
  • Theodor Paleologu, historian and diplomat;
  • Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu, former Prime Minister and former President of the Senate;
  • Bogdan Olteanu, former President of the Chamber of Deputies of Romania;
  • Teodor Meleșcanu, former Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Foreign Minister and Minister of National Defence;
  • Mircea Diaconu, former Minister of Culture and member of the European Parliament, actor;
  • Mihai Stănișoară, former Minister of National Defence;
  • Norica Nicolai, former MEP;
  • Renate Weber, former MEP, jurist;
  • Ramona Mănescu, former MEP and former Minister of Transport;
  • Ovidiu Silaghi, former Minister for Small and Medium Enterprises and former Minister of Transport;
  • Radu Stroe, former Minister of Interior;
  • Viorel Cataramă, businessman and former senator.

Electoral history

Legislative elections

Election Chamber Senate Position Aftermath
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1990 879,290 6.41
29 / 395
985,094 7.06
10 / 119
 3rd  Opposition to FSN government (1990–1991)
FSN-PNL-MER-PDAR government (1991–1992)
1992 284,678 2.62
0 / 341
290,866 2.66
0 / 143
 9th  Extra-parliamentary opposition to PDSR-PUNR-PRM-PSM government (1992–1996)
1996 3,692,321 30.17
33 / 343
3,772,084 30.70
24 / 143
 1st 
(within CDR)1
CDR-USD-UDMR government (1996–2000)
2000 747,263 6.89
30 / 345
814,381 7.48
13 / 140
 4th  Opposition to PDSR minority government (2000–2004)
2004 3,191,546 31.33
64 / 332
3,250,663 31.77
28 / 137
 2nd 
(within DA)2
DA-PUR-UDMR government (2004–2007)
PNL-UDMR minority government (2007–2008)
2008 1,279,063 18.60
65 / 334
1,291,029 18.74
28 / 137
 3rd  Opposition to PDL-PSD government (2008–2009)
Opposition to PDL-UNPR-UDMR government (2009–2012)
USL government (2012)
2012 4,344,288 58.63
100 / 412
4,457,526 60.10
50 / 176
 1st 
(within USL)3
USL government (2012–2014)
Opposition to PSD-UNPR-UDMR-PC government (2014)
Opposition to PSD-UNPR-ALDE government (2014–2015)
Supporting the technocratic Cioloș Cabinet (2015–2017)
2016 1,412,377 20.04
69 / 329
1,440,193 20.42
30 / 136
 2nd  Opposition to PSD-ALDE government (2017–2019)
Opposition to PSD minority government (2019)
PNL minority government (2019–2020)
2020 1,486,401 25.19
93 / 330
1,511,225 25.58
41 / 136
 2nd  PNL-USR PLUS-UDMR government (2020–present)

Notes:

1 CDR members: PNȚ-CD (25 senators and 81 deputies), PNL, PNL-CD (1 senator and 4 deputies), PAR (3 senators and 3 deputies), PER (1 senator and 5 deputies), and the Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER - 1 senator and 1 deputy).
2 Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) members: PNL and PD (21 senators and 48 deputies).
3 Social Liberal Union (USL) was an alliance of two smaller alliances: Centre Left Alliance (ACS) and Centre Right Alliance (ACD). Centre Left Alliance members: PSD and UNPR (5 senators and 10 deputies). Centre Right Alliance members: PNL (51 senators and 101 deputies) and PC (8 senators and 13 deputies).

Local elections

Election County Councilors (CJ) Mayors Local Councilors (CL) Popular vote  % Position
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
2008 1,521,191 18.20
297 / 1,393
1,721,834 19.50
706 / 3,179
1,576,214 19.80
8,529 / 40,297
1,537,840 18.08  3rd 
2016 2,529,986 30.64
504 / 1,434
2,686,099 31.50
1,081 / 3,186
2,478,549 29.60
13,198 / 40,067
2,529,986 30.64  2nd 
2020 2,212,904 30.76
474 / 1,340
2,578,820 34.58
1,232 / 3,176
2,420,413 32.88
14,182 / 39,900
2,334,039 29.78  1st 
Election County Presidents (PCJ) Position
Votes % Seats
2000 596,017 6.96
1 / 41
 4th 
2004 1,445,674 15.99
6 / 41
 2nd 
2008 1,537,840 18.08
5 / 41
 3rd 
2012 4,260,709
(as USL)
49.71
15 / 41
 1st 
(as USL)
2016 2,529,986 30.64
8 / 41
 2nd 
2020 2,261,157 31.07
17 / 41
 2nd 

Mayor of Bucharest

Election Candidate First round
Votes Percentage Position
1992 Crin HalaicuN/A
55.88%
 1st 
1996 Victor CiorbeaN/A
56.74%
 1st 
2000 George Pădure45,861
7.24%
 4th 
2004 Traian Băsescu417,153
54.94%
 1st 
2008 Ludovic Orban64,636
11.85%
 4th 
2012 Sorin Oprescu430,512
53.79%
 1st 
2016 Cătălin Predoiu64,186
11.18%
 3rd 
2020 Nicușor Dan282,631
42.81%
 1st 

Presidential elections

Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1990 Radu Câmpeanu1,529,188
10.6%
 2nd 
1992 Emil Constantinescu13,717,006
31.1%
 2nd 4,641,207
38.6%
 2nd 
1996 Emil Constantinescu13,569,941
28.2%
 2nd 7,057,906
54.4%
 1st 
2000 Theodor Stolojan1,321,420
11.8%
 3rd 
2004 Traian Băsescu23,545,236
33.9%
 2nd 5,126,794
51.2%
 1st 
2009 Crin Antonescu1,945,831
20.0%
 3rd 
2014 Klaus Iohannis32,881,406
30.3%
 2nd 6,288,769
54.4%
 1st 
2019 Klaus Iohannis3,485,292
37.8%
 1st 6,509,135
66.09%
 1st 

Notes:

1 Emil Constantinescu was the common centre-right candidate that was endorsed 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 endorsed by the PNL in 2004 as part of the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) alongside the now defunct Democratic Party (PD).
3 Although Klaus Iohannis was a member of the PNL, he was the common centre-right candidate that was endorsed by the party in 2014 as part of the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL) alongside the now defunct Democratic Liberal Party (PDL).

European Parliament elections

ElectionVotesPercentageMEPsPositionPolitical group
2004 N/A 20.0%
7 / 35
 2nd  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)1
2007 688,859 13.4%
6 / 35
 3rd  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
2009 702,974 14.5%
5 / 33
 3rd  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)
2014 835,531 15.0%
6 / 32
 2nd  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)2
2019 2,449,068 27.0%
10 / 32
 1st  European People's Party (EPP)

Notes:

1 During the 2004–09 EU parliament session, the Romanian parliament sent 7 delegates on behalf of the PNL to Brussels, Belgium.
2 Subsequently, sought permission to adhere to the European People's Party (EPP) and had been accepted in the meantime.

See also

  • National Liberal Party (Republic of Moldova)
  • Liberalism and radicalism in Romania
  • List of political parties in Romania
  • List of liberal parties

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Further reading

  • PNL website retrieved 8 September 2012
  • Cliveti, Gheorghe, Liberalismul românesc. Eseu istoriografic, Editura Fundației "AXIS", Iași, 1996;
  • Istoricul PNL de la 1848 până astăzi, București, 1923;
  • Rădulescu – Zoner, Șerban (coord.), Cliveti, Gheorghe, Stan, Apostol, Onişoru, Gheorghe, Șandru, Dumitru, Istoria Partidului Național Liberal, Editura All, București, 2000;
  • Stan, Apostol, Iosa, Mircea, Liberalismul politic în România. De la origini până la 1918, Editura Enciclopedică, București, 1996;
  • Naumescu, Valentin, Despre liberalism în România. Realităţi, dileme, perspective, EFES, Cluj-Napoca, 2001;
  • Șomlea, Vasile-Florin, Mișcarea liberală din România post'1989, Editura Ecumenica Press, Cluj-Napoca, 2006;
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