Romania - Political parties

After the coup against Ceausescu, some 80 political parties appeared—some new; others, like the Liberals and the Peasant Party, revivals of prewar parties that the Communists had outlawed. The dominant party in the 1990 elections, however, proved to be the National Salvation Front (NSF), which took two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly.

By 1992, the NSF had split over the issue of whether or not to support Iliescu. The main party renamed itself the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PSDR), while a pro-Iliescu wing became the Democratic National Salvation Front, and an anti-Iliescu wing, headed by ex-Prime Minister Roman, became the Front for National Salvation (FSN). The PSDR took 28% of the vote and the FSN, 10%.

The second-largest party in the 1992 elections was a coalition, called the Democratic Convention of Romania (DCR), which incorporated such parties as the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic, the Movement of Civic Alliance, the Party of Civic Alliance, Liberal Party '93, and the Social Democratic Party. There are also small ultranationalist parties, the Party of Romanian National Unity and the Greater Romania Party, and the Communists have been reborn as the Socialist Labor Party. Despite superficial political differences, all three parties are anti-Hungarian, anti-Gypsy, and anti-Semitic, as well as anti-democratic.

In the parliamentary elections held on 3 November 1996, the PSDR lost its majority standing, and the DCR won a strong majority. The DCR became the ruling party with 53 seats in the Senate and 122 in the Chamber of Deputies; the PSDR held 41 and 91, respectively; the Social Democratic Union, 23 and 53; Hungarian Democratic Union, 8 and 19; Greater Romania Party, 8 and 19; and National Union Party, 7 and 18. Victor Ciorbea, a trade union leader and former mayor of Bucharest, became prime minister, and Emil Constatinescu became president.

Parliamentary and presidential elections were held on 26 November 2000, which were won by the PDSR. However, the Greater Romania Party (PRM) made a strong showing in both houses of parliament, and its candidate for president, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, came in second behind Iliescu, who again became president. The PDSR merged with the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR) to form the Social Democratic Party, and with the Humanist Party of Romania, formed the Democratic Social Pole of Romania. This coalition won 155 of 346 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 65 of 143 seats in the Senate. The PRM took 84 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 37 in the Senate; the Democratic Party took 31 and 13 seats, respectively; the National Liberal Party won 30 and 13; the Hungarian Democratic Alliance won 27 and 12; and 19 ethnic parties were represented with 1 seat each in the Chamber of Deputies.

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