A new crisis in the Liberal Party

a new crisis in the liberal party The Liberals are replacing their party chief after only six months

An extraordinary congress of the National Liberal Party, a member of the ruling coalition in Romania, will be held on April 10 in order to elect a new party president, the Liberals' National Council decided this Sunday. As many as 1,300 delegates will take part. Until then, the head of the Suceava County Council Gheorghe Flutur will act as interim president.

On Saturday, the Senate Speaker Florin Cîţu announced his resignation as head of the Liberal Party. Many Liberals had demanded that he stepped down, over claims that he caused tensions with the Social Democrats within the ruling coalition, that he failed to communicate to party members and that he has a poor public image that affects the party's scores in voting intention polls.

Cîţu's opponents would like the party presidency to be taken over by PM Nicolae Ciucă, who, mass media argue, has a much better public image and a coherent dialogue with the ruling partners. A respected military professional, Ciucă is however involved in a plagiarism scandal concerning his Ph.D. thesis.

The former PM Cîţu was elected party president only half a year ago, in late September 2021. Openly supported by the head of state Klaus Iohannis at that point, he won a tight election against another former prime minister, Ludovic Orban, who had been running the party since 2017. Orban claimed that congress saw "the most serious violations of democratic rules ever committed in a political party in the last 31 years." He also announced then that he renounced his partnership with Iohannis, to whom he had seemed quite loyal up to that point, and in December he quit the party altogether, and jointly with other former Liberals he set up a new right-of-centre party. 

Founded in 1875, the National Liberal Party has always taken pride in leading Romania in its most propitious moments: the proclamation of its independence in 1877, when the country got rid of centuries-long Ottoman rule, and the Great Union of 1918, when after WWI all the territories inhabited mostly by Romanians and previously under Russian and Austrian-Hungarian domination joined the Kingdom of Romania. Outlawed by the post-war communist dictatorship brought in by Soviet troops, the National Liberal Party re-emerged in the Romanian political arena shortly after the anti-communist revolution of 1989, and takes pride in being in power in 2007, when Romania was accepted in the EU.

But countless in-house scandals in recent years have overshadowed the public's confidence in the Liberal Party. In the latest voting intentions poll, the Liberals stand at 16%, only 1% above the nationalist AUR party in opposition and 20% below their current ruling partners, the Social Democrats. (A.M.P.)

Publicat: 2022-04-04 13:50:00
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