National Liberal Party (Romania)

This article is about the modern political party. For the historical party, see National Liberal Party (Romania, 1875).
For other uses, see National Liberal Party.
National Liberal Party
Partidul Național Liberal
Abbreviation PNL
President Alina Gorghiu
Honorary President Mircea Ionescu-Quintus
Spokesperson Adriana Săftoiu[1]
Leader in the Senate Ion Popa
Leader in the Chamber of Deputies Eugen Nicolăescu
Founder Radu Câmpeanu
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)
Membership  (2014) 426,556[6]
Ideology Conservative liberalism[7][8]
Political position Centre-right to Right-wing[9]
European affiliation European People's Party
International affiliation Liberal International
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours Yellow, Blue
Slogan Prin noi înșine!
(Through ourselves!)
Anthem Verde-nrourat[10]
(Dewy Green)
Seats in the Senate
63 / 157
Seats in the Chamber of Deputies
113 / 357
Seats in the European Parliament
8 / 32
1,081 / 3,186


County Councilors
504 / 1,434


Local Council Councilors
13,198 / 40,067




The National Liberal Party (Romanian: Partidul Național Liberal, PNL) is a conservative-liberal[13][14] political party in Romania. Founded 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.[15]

It is the second-largest party in the Romanian Parliament, with 102 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 51 in the Senate, behind the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD).

Until 2014, the PNL was a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).[16] 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,[17] and subsequently merged with the Democratic Liberal Party. The party is also a member of the Liberal International.[18]

Recent history

The PNL contested the 1996 general election as part of the successful Democratic Convention of Romania electoral alliance.[19]

The 2004 general election was fought by the PNL under the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA) banner,[19] allied with the Democratic Party (PD).

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 Party and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR).[14] 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 entered into the opposition, winning 19.74% seats in the Parliament, while the new government coalition, formed by their former ally the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), and the Social Democratic Party (PSD), had 69.9%. In the 2009 Romanian presidential elections its new leader, Crin Antonescu, finished third and the party remained in 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.[20][21] The PNL exited the USL on 25 February 2014, disbanding the alliance and returning to opposition.[22]

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).[23][24] At the beginning of the 8th European Parliament, 5 of the PNL MEPs sat with the EPP Group,[25] and 1 with the ALDE Group,[26] 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.[27] The PNL-PDL presidential candidate was agreed to run under an electoral banner called the Christian Liberal Alliance (ACL).[28][29]

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.[30] The breakaway party, called the Liberal Reformist Party (PLR), was founded by Popescu-Tăriceanu on 3 July 2014.[31]

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.[32] On 26 July 2014, a joint party congress of the PNL and PDL approved the merger.[33]

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.[34] Iohannis won the runoff election held on 16 November 2014 with 54.5% of the vote.[35][36]


The party adheres to the doctrine of liberalism, advocating both economic and social liberalization. In recent years, it has focused more on economic liberalism. For example, one of its main election promises for the 2004 legislative election was the introduction of a flat tax rate of 16% for personal income and corporate profits. Because the Liberal Party became part of the governing coalition, it managed to introduce this change, hence giving Romania one of the most liberal tax policies in Europe.

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:[37]


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 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:[38]

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.

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.


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 structures

Local leading structures

The local leading structures of the National Liberal Party are the following:


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. Also one should note that the color scheme of both signs can be reversed from yellow-blue to blue-yellow, depending on the background it is placed on.

Party leaders

Alina Gorghiu Klaus Iohannis Crin Antonescu Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu Theodor Stolojan Valeriu Stoica Mircea Ionescu Quintus Radu Câmpeanu Communist Romania Dinu Brătianu Ion Duca Vintilă Brătianu Ion I. C. Brătianu Dimitrie Sturdza Dumitru Brătianu Ion Brătianu
No. 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 -
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
11 Theodor Stolojan
1943 -
24 August 2002 2 October 2004 2 years, 1 month and 8 days
4 Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu
1952 -
2 October 2004 20 March 2009 4 years, 5 months and 18 days
5 Crin Antonescu
1959 -
20 March 2009 2 June 2014 5 years, 2 months and 13 days
6 Klaus Iohannis
1959 -
28 June 2014 18 December 2014 6 months and 16 days
7 Vasile Blaga
1956 -
18 December 2014 28 September 2016 1 year, 9 months and 10 days
8 Alina Gorghiu
(Co-president w/ Blaga until 28 September 2016)
1978 -
28 September 2015 2 months and 7 days

Notable members

Former members:

Current members:

Electoral performance

Election Votes % Chamber Senate Position Government
1990 985,094 7.06
29 / 395
10 / 119
3rd Opposition
1992 2,210,722 20.16
13 / 341
8 / 143
2nd (as CDR) Opposition
1996 3,772,084 30.7
37 / 343
19 / 143
1st (as CDR) Coalition
2000 814,381 7.48
30 / 345
13 / 140
4th Opposition
2004 3,250,663 31.8
58 / 332
23 / 137
2nd (as DA) Coalition
2008 1,291,029 18.74
65 / 334
28 / 137
3rd Opposition
2012 4,457,526 60.1 (as USL)
113 / 412
73 / 176
1st (as USL) Electoral alliance with PSD (in opposition since 2014)

See also


  1. "Blaga: Săftoiu - purtător de cuvânt al PNL; președinți unici - în alte nouă organizații". Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  2. Scurtu, Ioan (2003). Enciclopedia partidelor politice din România, 1859-2003 (in Romanian). Bucharest: Meronia.
  3. Iván Zoltán Dénes (2006). Liberty and the Search for Identity: Liberal Nationalisms and the Legacy of Empires. Central European University Press. p. 383. ISBN 978-963-7326-44-8.
  4. "Scurt istoric". PNL (in Romanian).
  5. Neagu, Alina (6 October 2014). "Tribunalul București a admis fuziunea prin contopire dintre PNL și PDL". (in Romanian).
  6. Miron, Denisa (10 September 2014). "Precizare ACL privind numărul de membri". Știri pe surse (in Romanian).
  7. "National Liberal Party". Visegrad+. 15 September 2014.
  8. "National Liberal Party (PNL)". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  9. Lavinia Stan; Rodica Zaharia (2012). "Romania". In Donnacha Ó Beacháin; Vera Sheridan; Sabina Stan. Life in Post-communist Eastern Europe After EU Membership: Happy Ever After?. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-415-68084-4.
  10. "Înțelegere politică pentru noul partid de dreapta. PNL și PDL vor cânta de acum "Verde-nrourat"". Digi24 (in Romanian). 17 August 2014.
  11. 1 2 3
  12. "Grupurile parlamentare". Chamber of Deputies (in Romanian).
  13. Elizabeth Bakke (2010). "Central and Eastern European party systems since 1989". In Sabrina P. Ramet. Central and Southeast European Politics since 1989. Cambridge University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-139-48750-4.
  14. 1 2 Villy Tsakona; Diana Elena Popa, eds. (2011). Studies in Political Humour: In Between Political Critique and Public Entertainment. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 90-272-0637-6.
  15. "Antonescu: La 138 de ani de la înființarea sa destinul PNL este strâns legat de evoluția României și de parcursul european". Agerpres (in Romanian). 24 May 2013.
  16. Donatella M. Viola (2015). Routledge Handbook of European Elections. Routledge. p. 665. ISBN 978-1-317-50363-7.
  17. "EPP concerned over actions of radical Islamic militant groups and over latest political developments in Romania; welcomes five new member parties". European People's Party. 12 September 2014.
  19. 1 2 Richard Rose; Neil Munro (2009). Parties and Elections in New European Democracies. ECPR Press. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-9558203-2-8.
  20. "Romanian Oppositions Form Alliance". Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  21. "FOCUS Information Agency". Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  22. "Romania's Liberals to leave ruling coalition, government". The Sofia Globe. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  23. EurActiv (2014-05-26). "Romanian liberals seek EPP affiliation". EurActiv. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  24. "Antonescu: I'll have talks with EPP in June". 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  26. "ALDE MEP details". Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  27. "Romania's largest rightist parties agree on presidential candidate, fusion | Independent Balkan News Agency". 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-07-16.
  28. "SIGLA ACL a intrat în producţie". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  29. "Ion Dumitrel, Florin Roman, Adrian Teban și Marius Ceteraș, prim-vicepreședinții Alianței Creștin Liberale Alba (ACL)". Ziarul Unirea. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  30. Newsroom. "Calin Popescu Tariceanu will run for president". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  31. ACTMedia - Romanian Business News. "Tariceanu: The Liberal Reforming Party is advancing Liberalism". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  32. "Name of new party from PDL-PNL merger is PNL". Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  33. "Merger protocol between PNL-PDL, new party statute, approved by joint congress". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  34. "Romania's PM Ponta wins first round of presidential election". Reuters. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  35. "Romania election surprise as Klaus Iohannis wins presidency". BBC News. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  36. "Romanians elected Klaus Iohannis their new president for the next five years". Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  37. (Romanian) The structure of the Party
  38. "Biroul Politic Național". PNL. Retrieved 18 February 2015.

External links

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