Democratic Liberal Party (Plushunia)

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Democratic Liberal Party
Partidul Democrat Liberal
PresidentIepuroi Hop
FoundedOctober 2017 (as Democratic Party)
1 June 2020 (transition to current name)
HeadquartersBulevardul Plușurilor 1, Plușeni
Membership  (2020)~30
IdeologyConservative Liberalism
Political positionCenter-right
Official colorsOrange, blue
Seats in the Plushunian Parliament
10 / 25
Mayors
4 / 7

The Democratic Liberal Party (short name PDL) is a center-right party from Plushunia. It is currently the largest party in Plushunia by number of seats in the Plushunian Parliament, and the main governing party in the country, being part of a coalition with the Liberal Alliance, coalition which supports the cabinet led by Iepuraș Slobozan, one of the leading figures of the PDL. It is the direct successor of the Democratic Party, which merged in June 2020 with the Liberal Democratic Party, absorbing the latter.[1] Prior to the merger, the party was known as the Democratic Party, which was known to have been the only centrist party of Plushunia, and favoured libertarian and progressive stances prior to making a turn towards a center-right ideology during October and November 2019.

History

Hop Era (October 2017 - June 2018)

The PDL's original incarnation, the Democratic Party was founded by centrist Plushunian politician Broscoi, and it was intended to be a centrist party. It was among the first political parties of Plushunia, and it gathered centrist, center-left and center-right politicians alike. At the 2017 Plushunian legislative elections it won 4 seats as part of the center-right Democratic Convention, much to the dismay its center-left members, which wanted to have the Democratic Party join the Social Alliance. It was part of the Democratic Convention-based Hop I Cabinet, and it had 3 ministers in the cabinet. During Iepuroi Hop's term as Prime Minister, the Democratic Party was the only centrist party in government and it was the main supporter of Social Liberalism in Plushunia. In June 2018 the leftist faction of the party split from PD and formed the Social Democracy Party. In an attempt to have the Social Democracy Party's members return within the Democratic Party, PD left the crumbling Democratic Convention and joined the Social Alliance. At the Plushunian 2018 snap legislative election the party won 5 seats in the Parliament.

In government (July 2018)

Following the elections, the party became part of the Ursu Polarescu I cabinet, PD members taking 2 portofolios in the cabinet. On 15 July the Democratic Party's yearly Congress opened and the center-right faction members declared that if the party vontinues to have a leftist orientation and agrees with the allegedly "unjust" distribution of the ministers in the Ursu Polarescu I Cabinet they would break away and form a new party. Broscoi Plușeanu, knowing that the Democrats could not possibly survive another split, decided to resign as Party President that day. After a election for the Party President office was held, center-right politician Donald Duck was elected. On the same day Donald declared that he would endorse PNL candidate Ghiță Purcel for Vice President in the August election instead of AS candidate Cățeluș Slobozeanu. On 22 July Donald declared that his party will secede from the Social Alliance and on 27 July he declared that he will sign a Colaboration Protocol with PNL and PNȚCD and will form an alliance with those parties. On 30 July the party officialy left the Social Alliance and joined the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats as a founding member alongside PNL and PNȚCD.

In opposition (August 2018 - April 2019)

After Donald Duck became President of the Democratic Party and had the party join the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats, the party started a reorientation towards the center-right area of the political spectrum, and became a supporter of the economic policies of the National Liberal Party, such as the privatisation of the state-owned enterprises, gradually becoming an opponent of the increasingly Socialist policies of the Social Alliance. During and after the Plushunian Civil War, the party partially supported the doctrine of the rebels, which involved the immediate termination by the Government of the attempt to turn Plushunia into a state with a Socialist economy. At the Plushunian 2019 snap legislative election, the party competed on an ALDe common list, gaining 3 seats (10%) in the Plushunian Parliament.

In government (April 2019 - September 2019)

Following the ALDe victory in the elections, the party entered government as part of the ALDe - USP coalition supporting the center-right Purcel I cabinet. Following the Iepuroi Hop parliamentary immunity scandal, the party became part of the grand coaliton Purcel II cabinet. During the term of the Purcel II cabinet, the party absorbed the National Front, a minor party led by former PM Iepuroi Hop and eventually left the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats, however it continued collaborating with the ALDe even after the Social Democrats joined the opposition, and the Democratic Party and the Save Plushunia Union (USP) formed a new center-right cabinet with ALDe, the Purcel III cabinet. Later, PD and USP formed a centrist political alliance, the Democracy and Truth Alliance (DA). With the September 2019 legislative elections approaching, the DA and the ALDe made an agreement to compete separately in the elections, but to form a coalition government led by a Democracy and Truth-affiliated PM should the two alliances win a majority.

However, after the election, in which DA won the first place with 29.7% of the popular vote and 8 seats in Parliament (out of which 4 went to PD), the alliance proposed Democrat leader Iepuroi Hop for the office of Prime Minister. Not willing to become junior party in a coalition led by a rather controversial politician, the ALDe refused to support Hop, and proposed then-outgoing PM and ALDe leader Ghiță Purcel (also supported by the Conservative Party) for a new term. Soon, the Social Democratic Party, which refused to propose their own PM candidate, announced their endorsement for Purcel (following some negotiations deemed "dubious" by the Democrats), the Liberal leader thus gaining the support of a majority of MPs and being appointed by the President to lead the new Government. The Purcel IV cabinet easily passed the confidence vote in the Parliament, forcing the Democrats to go in opposition for the first time since the Socialist era.

In opposition (September 2019 - February 2020)

The party's return into opposition brought a drop in support for Party President Donald Duck, while Iepuroi Hop, one of the PD's vice-presidents and the party's shadow Prime Minister, started a highly aggressive campaign against the governing parties, thus gaining more and more prominence and supporters among the Democrats and becoming a serious challenger to the current leadership. However, during the October 2019 civil unrest period, the more moderate leaders of the party decided (much to the dismay of the "radical" camp led by Iepuroi Hop) to have the PD or the DA as a whole not support any protests/riots, nor organise any rallies and even support important projects and laws proposed by the Purcel IV cabinet such as the October 2019 constitutional reform, thus the Democracy and Truth Alliance lost credibility as a strong opposition force and many of its voters started supporting more radical anti-government parties such as the Plushunian National Unity Party or the Unity and Solidarity Party. This was most clearly seen in the October snap election, when the DA only won 26% of the votes and 6 seats in the Parliament (out of which 5 went to PD) and failed to gather a parliamentary majority around its Prime Minister candidate, Iepuroi Hop.

The defeat in the October election further increased the support for Hop's radicals, which blamed the poor electoral result on the moderate wing of the party and managed to convocate the party's Congress in an extraordinary session in early November, the Congress voting to dismiss Donald Duck from the office of Party President and to replace him with Hop. The new leader thought that the only way to for the party to thrive and succeed in winning elections would be a strong, no-compromise opposition against the Liberal - Social Democrat governing coalition and a sharp ideological turn towards the right of the political spectrum, liberal conservatism replacing centrism and social liberalism as the party's ideology. Hop also decided to change the party's insignia, keeping the rose as the PD's symbol while changing the green-white color scheme to a orange-blue one, and started negotiations with the leaders of the Save Plushunia Union in order to achieve the latter's absorption in the Democratic Party, which eventually took place on 11 December 2019. Furthermore, the party eventually severed all its remaining ties with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and started a political partnership with the Unity and Dignity Alliance and with its successor the National Democratic Party.

The ideological transformation of the PD proved to be a highly successful political move, the Democrats easily winning the December 2019 local election and improving its performance in opinion polls. Meanwhile, the Liberals' and Social Democrats' defeat in the local elections caused frictions and disputes between the two partners, many voices in both parties demanding that the coalition break up. Sensing the cracks in the coalition and exploiting them by continuing his aggressive anti-government campaign, Iepuroi Hop decided to table a motion of no confidence in the Parliament, which passed with help from anti-coalition dissident groups from within the governing parties, dealing a fatal blow to Purcel and his allies. However, after the motion the PD failed to create a parliamentary majority which could support a Democrat-led government, only 10 out of the 20 MPs supporting the said cabinet. Thus, the Democrats and their allies decided to have their 10 MPs resign from the Parliament, leaving it with less than the 50%+1 threshold it requires to constitutionally function and forcing snap elections, which the PD won with the historical score of 37.08%.

In government (February 2020 - July 2020)

After winning the election on a platform emphasizing the creation of a fully independent judicial system, the fight against corruption, cronyism and organised crime, further liberalisation of the economy, the execution of major infrastructure projects through a public-private partnership and offering subventions to smaller entrepreneurs in a bid to "democratise the economy" and "reduce the influence of large corporations", the Democrats managed to form a parliamentary majority alongside their allies and to have a cabinet with party leader Iepuroi Hop as Prime Minister successfully invested. The new government immediately started the judicial reform, increasing the number of prosecutors and creating special judicial bodies for investigating corruption and organised crime cases, while also starting a crackdown on the many criminal groups which appeared in Plushunia in late 2019 or early 2020 and increasing the military spending. However, late February and early March saw the coronavirus pandemic engulf Romania, the neighboring country entering lockdown by late March, with significant consequences on Plushunia's still import-dependent economy. Facing a full lockdown in the neighboring country (which slowed down economic processes and reduced imports) and fearing that a long-term economic crisis could start, investors, companies and ordinary consumers started spending less and saving more, thus diminishing economic activity to an all-time low and reducing government revenue. Facing small revenues and forced to support more and more unemployed Plushunians whom were fired by their employers, the Democrats were forced to impose unpopular austerity measures such as tax increases and reduction of public spending, in a bid to slow down the progress of the crisis and to increase the revenue. In late March the Democratic Party also started merger negotiations with their partners the Liberal Democratic Party, eventually merging with the latter, forming a new party, the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), which kept the symbols and doctrine of its predecessor, the PD, while also incorporating some elements from the Liberal Democrats' doctrine in the new party's ideology. Meanwhile, even though the Hop cabinet managed to keep the state away from bankruptcy, the economy did not recover, thus the Government had to draft a new economical plan, which focused on supporting investors and smaller companies and starting new infrastructure projects in a bid to increase economic activity. However, in order to obtain the money needed in order to execute the plan, the PDL was forced to impose new, harsher austerity measures such as reducing all wages in the public sector with 20% and further increasing taxes. The new measures were highly unpopular, leading to massive street protests and even to the break-up of the coalition supporting the Hop II government, the National Democratic Party going into opposition after refusing to support the wage cuts. The Democrat Liberal cabinet thus remained a vulnerable minority government, while the party even lost over a third of their voters, dropping in polls from 41% to 25% in only a few weeks as a result of its unpopular economic policies. In the June 2020 local election, the PDL won 29.3% of the votes in the first round and kept 4 of its 5 of its Mayor seats, former PD leader Donald Duck even being able to defeat incumbent Cățeluș Slobozeanu in the otherwise Social Democrat-dominated Ialomița region, however the party failed to hold the most important Mayor seat, the Plușeni Municipality, losing it to the Liberal candidate, former PM Ghiță Purcel. Meanwhile, the other parties and the protesters continued to pressure Prime Minister Iepuroi Hop and Minister of Economy, Public Finances and Commerce Cățel Plușeanu into resigning, the later ultimately doing so in early July. Hop was even contested by voices within the party, such as the ministers Judy Hop and Broscoi Plușeanu, who thought that the PDL damages its image by staying in government during an economic crisis and tried to pressure the PM into leaving office by resigning from their ministerial functions in protest, though without success. The Hop cabinet ultimately fell on 24 July by a motion of no confidence, while the Democrat Liberal President of the Parliament Iepuraș Slobozan was ousted next day by the Liberal - Social Democrat - National Democrat parliamentary majority, and on 26 July the Democrat Liberal cabinet, still serving as interim Government, was finally replaced with a grand coalition cabinet supported by the former opposition.

In opposition (July - September 2020)

In government (September 2020 - present)

Ideology

The position of the Democratic Liberal Party on the Political Compass chart

The party is the main exponent of Liberal Conservatism in Plushunia, being a supporter of the liberalisation of the economy proposed by National Liberal Party and against state control/intervention in economy and large taxes. Justice is another important issue for the Democrat Liberals, the party supporting a strong, independent judicial system and the fight against corruption, which was the main theme of the February 2020 campaign. The party also embraces fiscal conservatism, supporting diminishing public spending by reducing the state's role in the economy and limiting the spending to social services and infrastructure projects. However, the party tends to adopt more conservative views on social issues, being slightly nationalistic and supporting the preservation of the national culture. The current ideology has been largely established during late 2019, when the party's predecessor, the Democratic Party, failed to win the September and October elections led to a ideological turn to the right within the party, resulting eventually in the election of right-winger Iepuroi Hop as party leader. The ideology of the Democratic Party was adopted in an almost unchanged form by the Democrat Liberals following the merger.

Prior to the October 2019 ideological shift, the Democratic Party was known to have been the first and only centrist party in Plushunia, having been a great supporter of economically centrist doctrines like Social Liberalism. The party embraced the Keynesian doctrine and supported social welfare policies, however it was against the dominance of the state sector in the economy and supported large-scale privatisation (albeit the party leaders declared that the said privatisation should "not be rushed" and "done in a socially responsible way". On the social scale, the Democratic Party had a moderate Libertarian stance, supporting increased liberties for the individuals and being against authoritarianism.

Internal organisation

The Democratic Liberal Party is organised and administered according to the statute of the PDL, an internal code of rules and procedures adopted on 1 June 2020, following the party's switch to its current name, although the document is almost identical to the statute of its predecessor, the Democratic Party. Thus, the said document establishes the National Congress of the PDL as the main authority within the party, it being composed of the entirety of the party's members. The Congress is usually convocated before elections (but extraordinary congresses may be convocated in special circumstances), its role being to vote upon the party's electoral platform/manifesto for each election and to approve any merger with another political organisation or change to the party statute. It also elects the Party President (who is elected using a first-past-to-post voting system), one Senior Vice-President and three Vice-Presidents (which are elected through a single transferable vote system), which together form the party's Executive Council, an administrative body coordinated by the Party President, the Council having the duty of running the party on a daily basis and representing it at inter-party negotiations. The members of the Executive Council are:

 • Iepuroi Hop - Party President
 • Judy Hop - Senior Vice-President
 • Iepuraș Slobozan - Vice-President
 • Cățel Plușeanu - Vice-President
 • Broscoi Plușeanu - Vice-President

Electoral results

Legislative elections

Election Alliance Votes won Seats won
2017 CD
230 / 475
4 / 25
2018 AS
204 / 300
5 / 30
Mar 2019 ALDe
109 / 327
3 / 30
Sept 2019 DA
93 / 315
4 / 25
Oct 2019 DA
79 / 299
5 / 20
Feb 2020
132 / 356
7 / 20
Sep 2020
103 / 341
10 / 25

Local elections

Election Alliance Votes won
(1st round)
Mayor seats won
Aug 2019 DA
134 / 422
3 / 7
Dec 2019
97 / 312
4 / 7
Jun 2020
138 / 471
4 / 7