Conservative Party (Romania)
|Founded||18 December 1991|
|Dissolved||19 June 2015|
|Merged into||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats|
|Headquarters||Calea Victoriei, 118|
|National affiliation||Social Liberal Union (2010–14)|
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats|
The Conservative Party (Romanian: Partidul Conservator, PC) was a conservative political party in Romania. Founded in 1991, after the fall of Communism in Romania, originally under the name Romanian Humanist Party (Partidul Umanist Român, PUR). From 2005 until 3 December 2006, the party was a junior member of the Government of Romania. The party adopted the name Conservative Party on 7 May 2005. In June 2015 it merged with the Liberal Reformist Party to form the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats.
The Conservative Party stated that it promoted tradition, family, social solidarity, European integration, and a nationalism without chauvinism. It claimed the heritage of the historical Romanian Conservative Party, one of the two main political forces in Romania before the First World War. There was no direct, uninterrupted link between the two parties—the historical Conservative Party was dissolved after World War I—but the modern party sustained and embraced the values of the historical one.
The Conservative Party was founded as the Romanian Humanist Party (PUR) on 18 December 1991 and was for a time a member of the Humanist International. It changed its name in 2005 to reflect a shift in its ideology from centrist politics to more conservative, right-wing politics. The party was founded by Dan Voiculescu, a businessman who formally gave control of his companies to relatives. Voiculescu was the founder and former owner of an important media chain comprising among others the top-ranking TV channel Antena 1 and the newspapers Jurnalul Naţional and Gazeta Sporturilor. According to CNA (the state agency for broadcast licensing), he retains significant influence in the Romanian mass media, either through his foundation or through his family.
The party generally supported the interests of the Romanian middle class and especially those of small and middle-size business owners, and performed better electorally at a local level than at a national level. The PUR formed a coalition with the PDSR (now the Social Democratic Party), which won the 2000 general election. The PUR took part in the government under the condition of having the opportunity to promote the interests of its electorate. A Ministry for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises was thus formed, under the leadership of a PUR representative. After two years, the senior partner of the coalition, the PDSR, decided to suppress this Ministry, and consequently the PUR withdrew from the government.
In the local elections of June 2004, the PUR obtained 6% of the votes and, among others, managed to win in one important city, Bacău. During this election, the party strongly attacked the PSD and its alleged system of "local barons". After the surprising alliance of PUR with PSD, Romeo Stavarache, the mayor of Bacău, switched to the National Liberal Party (PNL) after a disagreement with Voiculescu, saying that he found it impossible to cooperate with the "local barons" he had struggled to defeat.
In the 2004 parliamentary election the PUR again formed an electoral alliance with the PSD. This was a surprising move, as the PUR had strongly attacked the PSD in the June local elections. However, it ensured that the PUR would be able to enter the parliament on the coattails of the much larger party. The elections gave a slight parliamentary plurality to the PSD-PUR coalition, while the new president Traian Băsescu came from the other major competing coalition, the Justice and Truth Alliance (DA), formed by the PNL and Democratic Party (PD). This situation threatened a major political crisis, the President being unwilling to appoint a prime minister from the slightly larger parliamentary bloc, and the DA candidate for prime minister liable not to be ratified by the Parliament, which would have resulted in new parliamentary elections.
Although initial talks assured the support of PUR for the Justice and Truth, without them joining the government, the election of PSD members Adrian Năstase and Nicolae Văcăroiu as Heads of Chambers in the Romanian Parliament, prompted the members of DA to invite PUR to join the government. Although he had been the main advocate of this solution and had strongly pleaded for it, president Băsescu later qualified the solution as "immoral". In return, the conservatives labelled the President as a "hypocrite".
Voiculescu has admitted having been a collaborator with the Securitate, Romania's communist-era internal intelligence service, after information to this effect was released publicly by Romania's National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives. He has actively denied that his collaboration was harmful to any individual. He was initially named to be a Vice Premier in the government of Prime Minister of Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu but was ultimately not allowed to take the position because of his involvement with the former intelligence service.
On 7 May 2005 the party adopted the name Conservative Party to reflect a change of doctrine from centrism to a more conservative stance. However, its ideology remained fluid, since it supported certain leftist positions, such as increasing corporate taxation.
In 2005, the party organised a march "for family values" as a reaction to Bucharest Pride. The party was opposed to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, even though Octavian Petrovici, a vice-president of the party's Bucharest division, stated in 2006 that the party "respects the choice" of same-sex couples.
The party also supported the introduction of compulsory religious education in Romanian schools (currently, such classes are optional).
On 3 December 2006, the party quit the governing coalition and went into opposition. It continued to perform poorly in opinion polls and faced the prospect of being unlikely to enter parliament at the 2008 general election unless it entered into another pact with either the PSD or the PNL.
In the 2008 legislative election, the Conservative Party also took part in an alliance with PSD, and won 1 seat in the Senate and 4 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Before that, the Conservatives had proposed an alliance with the Greater Romania Party (PRM). The PRM leader emphatically rejected the offer, as it was presumed that PRM would be absorbed by the Conservative Party. Similarly, the party ran in the 2009 European election in a coalition with the PSD, called National Union PSD+PC, and won 1 MEP seat (George Sabin Cutaş).
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- Conservative Party official site