RO politics: PMP merger talks cause rebellion in ALDE
Earlier this month, the center-right party Mișcarea Populară (PMP) invited Alianța Liberalilor și Democraților (ALDE) to join them in consolidating the political right. Neither PMP, nor ALDE have representatives in Romania’s parliament.
Last week, the president of ALDE, Daniel Olteanu, was a special guest of PMP president Eugen Tomac at the party’s youth summer school. During their meeting, the two leaders agreed that Romania was headed in the wrong direction and argued that a right-wing alternative was needed. PMP also issued an invitation to ALDE to form a common project on the political right.
ALDE leadership, however, insisted that Olteanu attended the PMP event without the party’s approval, and could not act as its representative. “ALDE does not want to carry out any political project with the party of Eugen Tomac and Traian Băsescu, who during his mandate constantly attacked ALDE,” the press release states.
PMP obtained only 4.82% of the votes during the 2020 parliamentary elections, narrowly missing the 5% threshold for entering the parliament. ALDE, then in merger talks with the left-wing party of former social-democratic PM Victor Ponta, also failed to send representatives to the legislative.
Then-outgoing president Traian Băsescu founded PMP in 2014. The party hovered around the 5% threshold ever since but managed to enter Romania’s parliament and the European parliament between 2016-2020. Plagued by infighting and leadership battles in recent years, PMP now has only two MEPs in the European Parliament, and the latest polls still show it at around 5%.
ALDE was founded in 2015 by former PM Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu as a breakaway from the National Liberal Party (PNL). The party was intended to be a midway between liberalism and conservatism but was also marked by a certain degree of Euroscepticism. After the 2016 parliamentary elections, the party was a faithful ally to the Social Democrats (PSD), backing the PSD government in the legislative. Together, ALDE and PSD initiated a series of changes pertaining to the Criminal Code that ignited year-long protests. Over 250,000 people occupied the square in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest at the high point of the protests. The party has been defunct ever since and failed to obtain any mandates during the most recent local, European, or parliamentary elections.
(Photo source: PMP)