Democratic Liberal Party (Plushunia)

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Democratic Liberal Party
Partidul Democrat Liberal
PresidentIepuroi Hop
Senior Vice-PresidentJudy Hop
FoundedOctober 2017 (as Democratic Party)
1 June 2020 (transition to current name)
HeadquartersBulevardul Plușurilor 1, Plușeni
Membership  (2020)~35
IdeologyLiberal Conservatism
Political positionCenter-right
Official colorsOrange, blue
Seats in the Plushunian Parliament
16 / 31
Mayors
4 / 7

The Democratic Liberal Party (Romanian: Partidul Democrat Liberal; abbreviated PDL) is a center-right liberal-conservative party from Plushunia. It is currently the largest party in Plushunia by the number of seats in the Plushunian Parliament (with 10 out of 25 seats in the Parliament being held by PDL members), and the sole governing party, supporting a PDL majority government led by Iepuraș Slobozan (one of the leading figures of the PDL), the Slobozan III cabinet. 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 one of the oldest political parties of the country, being founded in October 2017. The party is known for having governed between October 2017 and June 2018 as part of the Democratic Convention, in July 2018 as part of the Social Alliance, then between March and September 2019 as part of (and later alongside) the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats and then in coalition with some lesser parties from February to July 2020 and once again alongside the Liberals since September 2020.

Originally a progressive, centrist, neoliberal party, the Democrats migrated to the right of Plushunian politics in late 2019, adopting liberal conservatism as its main ideology[2]. Thus, the party supports a free market, liberal economy, however, unlike their Liberal counterparts, the Democrats adopt a stimulus-based Keynesian economic policy with some fiscally conservative elements such as a balanced budget fiscal policy. Socially, the party adopts moderately conservative stances with populist influences, often adopting an "us versus them" narrative when it comes to the other parties, supporting a strong justice and a "war on crime and corruption" and viewing itself as a mildly nationalistic "people's party", that attempts "to demolish the corrupt establishment", while in the cultural sphere, the Democrat Liberals advocate for the preservation and development of Plushunia's national culture. This message proved to be highly attractive to middle-class and working-class voters, who have abandoned the left-wing parties they usually voted for in favor of the PDL, thus fueling the party's growth in late 2019 and early 2020, and have since become the PDL's main voter base.

Historically, the Democrat Liberals are the strongest in the Argeș and Plușeni municipalities, especially in the Unirea sector, where it heavily gained voters from the other parties during the past year and where one of the country's strongest mayors, Peter Hop (PDL), was reelected in June 2020 with 47.4% of the votes in the first round and over 65% in the second round. The PDL was also strong in the Plușurilor sector, however, its recent transition to a more populist ideology and its focus on the working/middle class has led to the migration of the predominantly upper-class voters in the area to the Liberals. The party has no international affiliation due to no such active organisations existing in the micronational community, but it has expressed interest in joining a such organisation should one appear.

History

Establishment (October 2017 - June 2018)

Broscoi Plușeanu, the founder of the Democratic Party and party leader from October 2017 to July 2018. A pro-environment Social Liberal, he was considered by many to be "the father of centrist politics" in Plushunia.

The PDL's original incarnation, the Democratic Party was founded by centrist Plushunian politician Broscoi Plușeanu, 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 and in the context of growing left-wing sentiment among party members, PD left the crumbling Democratic Convention and joined the Social Alliance. At the 2018 snap election the party won 5 seats in the Parliament, having competed on a Social Alliance common list.

Association with the left (July 2018)

The original logo of the Democratic Party, created in July 2018. The rose symbol evocated the left-leaning orientation the Democrats had at the time.

Following the elections, the party became part of the Ursu Polarescu I cabinet, PD members taking 2 portfolios in the cabinet. On 15 July the Democratic Party's yearly Congress opened and the center-right faction members declared that if the party continues 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 an 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 Collaboration Protocol with PNL and PNȚCD and will form an alliance with those parties. On 30 July the party officially left the Social Alliance and joined the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats as a founding member alongside PNL and PNȚCD[3].

The first "turn to the right" (August 2018 - April 2019)

Donald Duck, leader of the Democratic Party from July 2018 to October 2019, best known for turning the party away from the left and tying the Democrats to right-wing parties such as the National Liberal Party and the Save Plushunia Union.

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.

Return to government (April - 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[4]. During the term of the Purcel II cabinet, the party absorbed the National Front[5], 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)[6]. 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 a 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.[2]

Reform and rise (September 2019 - February 2020)

The party's logo between November 2019 and May 2020. The orange-blue color scheme, replacing the old green-white one, became the symbol of the party's new ideological and political identity.

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 force incumbent leader Donald Duck to resignate. Shortly afterwards, the "radicals" convocated the party's Congress in an extraordinary session in early November, the Congress voting to elect Iepuroi Hop as the party's new leader. 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 an 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.[2]

Campaign poster of the PD, made for the February 2020 legislative election. The text from the upper part of the poster, a strongly anti-system message, states "Say NO to corruption. Say NO to incompetence. Say NO to abuses. Vote for the 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[7] 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 Ghiță 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%.[8]

Governing through crisis (February - July 2020)

Iepuroi Hop, leader of the Democratic Liberal Party since October 2019 and Prime Minister between February and July 2020. Became leader after Donald Duck resigned in the wake of the party's electoral defeat in the October 2019 election. Under his leadership, the party took a hard turn towards the right, abandoning centrism and social liberalism in the favor of liberal conservatism and right-wing populism.

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.[8] Facing small revenues and forced to support more and more unemployed Plushunians who 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 recession and to increase the government revenue.[8]

In late May, 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 (such as more focus on fiscal conservatism) in the new party's ideology.[1] 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 economic 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[9]. 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.

Back in opposition (July - September 2020)

A Democratic Liberal campaign poster, created for the September 2020 electoral campaign. This poster, along with other elements of the campaign, stirred controversy, since it directly attacked other parties by using their official colors in a negative context. The message of the poster translates to "They want you to not see them. They want you to not hear them. They want to finish their DIRTY BUSINESSES. Say NO to these abuses. Choose JUSTICE. Vote for PDL.".

After the dismissal of the Hop II cabinet, the Democratic Liberal Party did not attempt to keep the power by proposing a new PDL-affiliated Prime Minister candidate, instead of going into opposition and focusing more on rebuilding its damaged reputation (and closing the gaps and disputes between party members which had appeared during the final months of Hop's tenure) in order to prepare for the September legislative election. Thus, the party started an electoral campaign with strong populist accents, reaffirming itself as an anti-corruption and reformist political force, viewing the Social Democratic Party and the National Liberal Party, which took power in Plushunia after overthrowing the Hop II cabinet, as part of the corrupt and bureaucratic "system" that "holds control of the country and tries to stop reforms in a bid to defend its immoral interests", the Democrat Liberals establishing themselves as the partisans of justice and the "citizens' ally" in "the war with the system". The party thus promised to "bring justice and order" to Plushunia and restart the "war on crime and corruption" by allocating more resources to the judicial system and the Plushunian Security Force and by completing the judicial reform started by the Hop II cabinet. This populist message (which was largely an adaptation of the February 2020 campaign messages), which interpreted the recent power exchange as a brutal, unjust and illegal (several of the Parliament's rules having been allegedly broken in the process) parliamentary "coup" of the "system" against the PDL's reformist cabinet, was successful among the Plushunian voters, especially in the context of the continuous disagreements, infighting and incoherence within the grand coalition supporting the Slobozeanu I cabinet, thus the PDL managed to recover some of the ground it lost in the wake of the second austerity wave, winning the first place in the September legislative election, with 30% of the popular vote and 40% of the seats in the Plushunian Parliament, the largest percentage of seats ever held by a single party. Thus, due several pre-election protocols and negotiations with the Liberal Alliance (which was dissatisfied with its collaboration with the Social Democrats and decided to seek a new political partnership), the Democrat Liberals managed to form a new center-right coalition cabinet led by party vice-president and ex-President of the Parliament Iepuraș Slobozan.

In government (September 2020 - present)

Iepuraș Slobozan, Prime Minister of Plushunia since 13 September 2020, known for having gained significant influence in the party over the past few months

After returning to government, the party entered a calm period, without the many controversies of the previous period, the cracks in the party (which appeared after some party members, such as Judy Hop and Broscoi Plușeanu, contested Iepuroi Hop's decision to keep his office as PM at all costs and argued that governing in minority and through crisis harmed the party's reputation, therefore the PDL must withdraw from government and go into opposition until it is able to create a secure majority in the Parliament) having largely healed and highly controversial party leader Iepuroi Hop mostly withdrawing from top-level politics and not taking any office in the new administration. Furthermore, Iepuraș Slobozan, who is significantly more moderate and less controversial than Hop, gained more importance within the party due to his status as Prime Minister, easing the collaboration with the Liberal coalition partners (who agreed to form a coalition with the PDL and allow it to nominate the Prime Minister as long as Iepuroi Hop wasn't the Prime Minister candidate of the PDL), the many infrastructural projects are done in partnership with the Liberal mayors of New Plușeni and Plușeni and the promises of a judicial reform greatly increased the party's popularity in opinion polls (even though the the fact that some party leaders pointed out that the case of the September 2019 "Plushunian Revolution" and the subsequent civil conflict, despite the fact that the case was closed in November 2018 by the Socialist government, could be reopened, stirred controversy and was highly condemned by right-wing and left-wing radicals alike). The party continued to gain in polls and popularity after the PDL-led government enacted the judicial reform, restructuring the court and prosecutor office settings, and founding an intranational secret service, the Plushunian Informations Service, that is allowed to gather information on criminal cases and use it for prosecution (unlike in neighboring Romania).

Doctrine

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 the economy and large taxes. Justice is another important issue for the Democrat Liberals, the party supporting the rule of law, increasing funding for the police and a strong, independent judicial system and a "war on crime and corruption", which was the main theme of the February 2020 campaign.[8] The party also embraces a Keynesian stimulus-based economic policy (unlike their Liberal partners, who prefer a trickle-down, non-interventionist approach) combined with fiscally conservative policies such as the importance of a balanced budget. However, the party tends to adopt more conservative and right-wing 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 an 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 preserved in an almost unchanged form by the Democratic Liberal Party following the merger.[2]

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 of the public companies (albeit the Democrat leaders believed that the said privatisation should "not be rushed" and "done in a socially responsible way" since they thought that rushing the privatisation process could have led to the said privatisations' failure and to major negative economic and social consequences, similar situations appeared in Romania in the late '90s and early 2000s)[1]. On the social scale, the Democratic Party had a moderate Libertarian stance, supporting increased liberties for the individuals and opposing authoritarianism.

Economic policy

The Democratic Liberal Party (and its predecessor, the Democratic Party) has always been a strong supporter of free-market, liberal economics and has always advocated for the privatisation of public companies (the private sector being viewed by the PDL as the backbone of Plushunian economy) and, to an extent, of some public assets and property (albeit the party, unlike the Liberal Alliance, opposes the privatisation of the public transport system and infrastructure). The party adopts a stimulus-based economic policy, combining Keynesianism with incentives for consumers and investors, while attempting to maintain a balanced budget. This type of policy is implemented by the party especially in times of economic crisis, a good example being the early 2020 economic crisis which hit Plushunia after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, during the crisis, the PDL-dominated government first responded with austerity in order to counter the sharp drop in tax revenue which was caused by a significant decrease in aggregate demand, and then decided to adopt a recovery spending program which involved further cuts in some areas of the state budget and an overall austere budget in order to provide money for the recovery spending and stimulus-based policy needed to end the crisis.

Social policy

In terms of social policy, the Democratic Liberal Party adopts moderately conservative stances, promoting traditional/family values and supporting the preservation and development of the Plushunian culture (although the party is fairly tolerant to minorities). The PDL also adopts a strong "law and order" message, increasing funding for the judicial system and the police, harsher criminal law, a reform of the judicial system and the creation of a special prosecutor division with the role of investigating corruption cases being key elements of the one of the PDL's most important campaign themes, the "war on crime and corruption" (which was first brought into discussion by the Democratic Party in the context of the high levels of crime and corruption which existed in late 2019 and early 2020 and involved a full crackdown on organised and unorganised crime alike, the increasing of police funding and staff in order to provide for increased surveillance of public assets and protection of citizens, as well as more measures taken in order to prevent corruption, especially in politics and the public administration) having been the party's main campaign theme for the February 2020 and being retained and further developed for the September 2020 election.

Foreign policy

In terms of foreign policy, the Democrat Liberals abide to the national consensus of an open policy, intermicronational integration, extension of diplomatic relations and involvement in the micronational community being fully supported by the party, and many diplomatic achievements of Plushunia, such as joining the GUM, taking place under current PDL leader Iepuroi Hop's tenure as Minister of Internal and External Affairs, National Defence and Justice (August 2019).

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 yearly/before legislative 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 the leader and public face of the party, coordinating and leading all actions within it), one Senior Vice-President (who assists the President in his duties) and four Vice-Presidents (each having different attributions), all of which are elected via a first-past-the-post system. Together, they 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 representing it at inter-party negotiations and deciding the party's PM candidate and the candidates for the Parliament.

Each of the Vice Presidents has his own specific portfolio, being the leader of one of the 4 departments of the party's administration, each of which deals with a specific domain. The four departments are Electoral Affairs (in charge of managing electoral programs, propaganda and campaigns), Economic Affairs (in charge with economic policy and with managing the party's finances), Social Affairs (in charge with social and environmental policy, as well as social/cultural/environmental actions taken by the party) and Administrative Affairs (in charge with coordination, communication and cooperation between the party's administrative structures and local organisations).

Aside from the central leadership, there are local leaderships and organisations too, every administrative subdivision of Plushunia being home to a local organisation. Local organisations are administrated in a similar way to the party as a whole (a President and a Council existing in each of them), and their leaderships deal with local issues such as deciding the MP candidates for each constituency, the Mayor candidate for each municipality and running the local organisations on a day-to-day basis.

Leadership of the Democratic Liberal Party

Name Portrait Office Current political offices Past political offices Local organisation of origin
Party President
Iepuroi Hop IHop.jpg Party President MP for Plușeni (3rd constituency) Prime Minister of Plushunia;
Deputy PM of Plushunia;
Mayor of Plușeni;
MP (national list);
Minister of Internal Affairs, National Defence and Justice.
Plușeni
Party Senior Vice-President
Judy Hop JHop.jpg Party Senior Vice-President President of the Parliament;
MP for New Plușeni (2nd constituency)
Deputy Prime Minister of Plushunia; Mayor of Plușeni;
Minister of Internal Affairs, National Defence and Justice;
MP (national list)
New Plușeni
Party Vice-Presidents
Iepuraș Slobozan IepuS.jpg Head of the Department for Electoral Affairs Prime Minister of Plushunia;
MP (national list)
President of the Parliament;
Minister of Education and Research
Plușeni
Cățel Plușeanu CățelP.jpg Head of the Department for Economic Affairs MP (national list);
Minister of Economy, Finances and Commerce
Mayor of New Plușeni;
Minister of Economy and Commerce;
Minister of Transports and Infrastructure
New Plușeni
Broscoi Plușeanu BroscoiP.jpg Head of the Department for Social Affairs MP (national list);
Minister of Environment and Tourism
Minister of Agriculture, Environment, Tourism and Regional Development;
Minister of Agriculture, Environment, Waters and Forests
New Plușeni
Peter Hop N/A Head of the Department for Administrative Affairs General Mayor of Plușeni MP (national list);
Mayor of the Unirea sector;
Minister of Health, Labour, Social Justice, Public Consultation and Social Dialogue
Plușeni
Presidents of local organisations
Peter Hop N/A Local Organisation President (Plușeni) General Mayor of Plușeni MP (national list);
Mayor of the Unirea sector;
Minister of Health, Labour, Social Justice, Public Consultation and Social Dialogue
Plușeni
Judy Hop JHop.jpg Local Organisation President (New Plușeni) President of the Parliament;
MP for New Plușeni (2nd constituency)
Deputy Prime Minister of Plushunia;
Mayor of Plușeni;
Minister of Internal Affairs, National Defence and Justice;
MP (national list)
New Plușeni
Donald Duck DonaldD.jpg Local Organization President (Ialomița) Mayor of Ialomița Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration;
MP (national list)
Ialomița
Horațiu Pferd N/A Local Organization President (Argeș) Mayor of Argeș;
MP for Argeș
N/A Argeș

Factions

A highly diverse party since its foundation in October 2017, the Democratic Liberal Party has been divided throughout its existence in several factions, each with its own ideologies and leaders. Some of the factions have existed since the foundation of the party, others have appeared as a result of the growth and expansion of the PDL over the last year. Currently, the factions have a peaceful relationship, all of them being represented in the party's leadership. The factions have a wide range of ideologies, the most important being liberal conservatism, conservatism, liberalism, populism and centrism, and are currently enjoying a peaceful relationship, all of them are currently represented in the party's leadership.

The "Conservatives"

The logo of the National Front, absorbed by the Democrats in July 2019, the original party of most "Conservatives", including incumbent PDL leader Iepuroi Hop.

Despite only appearing in the party following its mergers with the National Front and with the Save Plushunia Union, the "Conservatives" are now the largest and strongest faction of the PDL, both Party President Iepuroi Hop, his deputy Judy Hop and incumbent Prime Minister Iepuraș Slobozan being part of it. They are considered to be the right-wing of the party and tend to embrace solidly liberal stances on the economy, supporting private enterprise, economic deregulation and fiscal conservatism, while not being against public spending in areas like infrastructure. However, the "Conservatives" tend to focus more on social issues (where they tend to take right-wing, neo-conservative positions with populist and nationalist elements), such as the focus on strongly upholding of law and order, a judicial reform, allocating more resources to police and the judicial system, the creation of a secret service and of a judicial body specifically created to investigate corruption cases being some of their priorities. Currently, the party's official ideology draws most of its elements from the "Conservative" faction, the latter having dominated the party since October 2019 (when it gained power and influence as a result of the many failures of the then-leaders, who originated mainly from the "Centrist" faction), being best-known for having led the "turn to the right" the party took in late 2019 and for bringing strong right-wing elements such as fiscal conservatism to the broadly Keynesian economic doctrine of the PDL.

The "Liberals"

The logo of the Liberal Democratic Party, absorbed by the PDL in May 2020, the predecessor of the current "Liberal" faction of the party.

The newest faction in the party, the "Liberals" were absorbed in the PDL through its merger with the Liberal Democratic Party, the faction being viewed by many as that party's continuator. A small faction, they largely embrace the economic policies of the "Conservative" faction, however they tend to focus more on economic issues and do not support the Keynesian economic doctrine or high public spending in infrastructure. Social issues are not of great concern to the "Liberals", mainly agreeing to the party's official policies, while usually opposing the nationalist and populist stances the "Conservatives" often adopt. The best-known member of this faction is the former Liberal Democratic Party leader and incumbent Minister of Economy, Cățel Plușeanu, who also serves as Head of the Department for Economic Affairs within the PDL.

The "Centrists"

The oldest faction of the party and the only one of the original factions (the "Green" faction having been absorbed by the centrists and the "Leftist" one having left the party in 2018 to form the Social Democracy Party, which has been since absorbed by the Social Democratic Party) still in activity, the "Centrists" are more moderate than the other factions, being the main advocates of Social Liberalism within the party and prioritizing spending in infrastructure and welfare, supporting Keynesian policies. Viewed as the left-wing of the party, the "Centrists" are known to avoid nationalism, fiscal conservatism and populism, however, they do not oppose the "law and order" policies of the "Conservatives". They also draw many elements from green politics, environmental issues being highly important to them. They have been the leading faction of the party while it was led by Broscoi Plușeanu and Donald Duck, and under their leadership, the party embraced Social Liberalism and Centrism as its main ideologies.

Electoral results

The Democratic Liberal Party is currently the largest party of Plushunia, having a large but volatile voter base (the percentage of votes won by the party or a preceding entity ranging from 26% in October 2019 to 37% in February 2020), consisting primarily of lower-middle-class and working-class voters and being largely concentrated in the Unirea sector of Plușeni and the Argeș municipality, the party enjoying high support there due to the fact that highly popular mayors Peter Hop and Horațiu Pferd are PDL members. The party inherited from the Save Plushunia Union a moderately strong voter base in the Plușurilor sector, however, the party has since lost dominance of the area to the more middle and upper-class oriented Liberal Alliance.

Legislative elections

A medium-sized party for most of its existence, the Democrat Liberals usually competed in elections as part of political alliances, only gaining enough traction to run by itself during late 2019, when it absorbed several parties (the National Front, the Save Plushunia Union, the Liberal Democratic Party) and managed to form a strong electoral base that helped it become the largest party. In July 2020, the party supported the replacement of the proportional representation system with a mixed-member one, that combined proportional representation with first-past-the-post elections in single-member constituencies. The new electoral system is highly advantageous for the PDL, since it is the largest party by both vote and member count, holding the highest number of safe seats (3, namely Plușeni 2, Plușeni 3 and Argeș 1) out of the 8 single-member constituencies.

Election Alliance Percentage Seats won Government
2017 CD
48.42 / 100
4 / 25
CD government (Oct. 2017 - Jun. 2018)
2018 AS
67.67 / 100
5 / 30
AS government (Jul. 2018)
Opposition to AS - FN government (Aug. - Sep. 2018)
Opposition to AS minority government (Sep. 2018 - Mar. 2019)
Mar 2019 ALDe
33.33 / 100
3 / 30
ALDe - USP government (Mar. - Jun. 2019)
ALDe - PSD - USP government (Jul. - Aug 2019)
ALDe - DA government (Aug. - Sep. 2019)
Sep 2019 DA
29.52 / 100
4 / 25
[2]
Opposition to ALDe - PC minority government (Sept. - Oct. 2019)
Oct 2019 DA
26.42 / 100
5 / 20
[2]
Opposition to ALDe - PSD government (Oct. - Dec. 2019)
Opposition to PNL + PNȚCD + PC -
PSD government (Dec. 2019 - Feb. 2020)
Feb 2020
37.08 / 100
7 / 20
[8]
PD - PND - PLD - UNPP government (Feb. - Jun. 2020)
PDL minority government (Jun. - Jul. 2020)
Opposition to PSD - AL - PND government (Jul. - Sep. 2020)
Sep 2020
30.21 / 100
10 / 25
PDL - AL government (Sep. - Dec. 2020)
PDL minority government (Dec. 2020 - Mar. 2021)
Mar 2021
40.63 / 100
16 / 31
PDL government (Mar. 2021 - present)

Local elections

The party's size is even more advantageous in the local elections, where the mayors of the municipalities and sectors of Plushunia are elected through a two-round system. Furthermore, the Democrats have 2 safe Mayor seats, that correspond to their geographic strongholds (Unirea and Argeș) and which are currently occupied by two highly notorious mayors, Peter Hop (the first mayor to be elected for 3 terms) and Horațiu Pferd. Thus, the party managed to fare strongly at all local elections to date, currently holding more than half of the Mayor seats in the country.

Election Alliance Percentage
(1st round)
Mayor seats won
Aug 2019 DA
31.75 / 100
3 / 7
[10]
Dec 2019
31.09 / 100
4 / 7
[7]
Jun 2020
29.30 / 100
4 / 7
Dec 2020
42.68 / 100
4 / 7

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dobrev, Cristian (1 June 2020). "Democrats merge with Liberal Democrats, National Liberal leader ousted". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Dobrev, Cristian (2 January 2020). "A chronology and synthesis of Plushunian events and activity in late 2019". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  3. Dobrev, Cristian (1 August 2018). "A new political alliance is rising". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  4. Dobrev, Cristian (27 June 2019). "Political crisis solved, new grand coalition cabinet led by Purcel". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  5. Dobrev, Cristian (27 July 2019). "National Front absorbed by Democratic Party". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  6. Dobrev, Cristian (20 August 2019). "A new political alliance is formed, center-right cabinet sworn into office". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dobrev, Cristian (7 January 2020). "December 2019 local elections – results and analysis". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Dobrev, Cristian (29 May 2021). "Mr. Hop, crisis and COVID – Plushunia in the spring of 2020". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  9. Dobrev, Cristian (9 June 2020). "Government adopts anti-recession plan, political crisis follows". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  10. Dobrev, Cristian (29 August 2019). "Results of the first round of Legislative President and second round of Mayor elections announced". plushunia.wordpress.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.