Romanian Democratic Convention

The Romanian Democratic Convention (Romanian: Convenţia Democrată Română; abbreviated CDR) was an electoral alliance of several democratic, anti-Communist, anti-totalitarian, and centre-right political parties in Romania, active from 1991 until 2000. The most prominent leaders of the CDR throughout the 1990s were by far Corneliu Coposu, Ion Rațiu, and Ion Diaconescu, all three members of the Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNȚ-CD - successor and political heir to the National Peasants' Party, active in the Kingdom of Romania between 1926 and 1948). The name of the CDR was coined by Sergiu Cunescu, leader of the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR), as stated in a late 1990s interview by former PNL president Radu Câmpeanu.[1]


Political composition

Seat allocation following the 1990 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNL 29 10
PNȚ-CD 12 1
PER 8 1
Total 51/395 12/119

The core members of the CDR included the following political parties:[2]

Eventually, some parties left (more specifically, the main faction of the PNL between 1992 and 1996, as well as the PAC, PSDR, and UDMR/RMDSZ in 1995), while other minor parties joined or were created between mergers within the alliance such as the Liberal Party '93 (PL '93) or the Union of Right-leaning Forces (UFD).

1991–1992: Foundation

Seat allocation following the 1992 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNȚ-CD 41 21
PAC 13 7
PNL-AT 11 1
PSDR 10 1
PNL-CD 3 4
Total 82/341 34/143

CDR was founded in 1991, one year before the 1992 elections, mainly by the PNŢ-CD and the National Liberal Party (PNL). In addition, aside from the aforementioned political forces, several other noteworthy civic and cultural organisations, foundations, and other minor political parties were involved in the foundational process.

Initially, the planned name of the CDR was "The National Convention for Democracy Implementation" (Romanian: Convenţia Națională pentru Implementarea Democrației). Subsequently, the main purpose of the CDR was to amount an effective opposition against the then all-dominating National Salvation Front (FSN), a huge parliamentary bloc made up mostly of former second and third rank members of the Romanian Communist Party, which assumed leadership of the country shortly after the 1989 Revolution.

1992–1996: Opposition

For the period 1992–1996, CDR was the main political opposition force in the Parliament of Romania and in the local administration as well. Although the convention won the capital city of Bucharest and much of the larger urban centres at the 1992 local elections, FSN swept over almost all rural areas and small towns. In the 1992 general elections, individual parties were awarded seats as follows:

The alliance also included the UDMR/RMDSZ, which ran on a separate list, and a number of minor parties and civic organisations that failed to gain parliamentary representation: the Democratic Unity Party, the Christian Democratic Union, the Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER), the Civic Alliance (PAC), and others.

At the 1992 general elections, Emil Constantinescu was the presidential candidate of the convention. He managed to qualify in the second round where he finished second with an electoral score of 38.57% (or 4,641,207 votes).

1996–2000: Government

Seat allocation following the 1996 election
Party Parliament Seats
Chamber Senate
PNȚ-CD 81 25
PNL 28 22
PNL-CD 4 1
PAR 3 3
PER 5 1
FER 1 1
Total 122/343 53/143

Subsequently, CDR managed to win the 1996 Romanian elections, and the alliance's presidential candidate, once again Emil Constantinescu, became president with 54.41% (or 7,057,906 votes).

Below is the distribution of seats in the Chamber of Deputies between the components of the alliance after the 1996 elections, the first in post-1989 Romania that saw a peaceful transition of power:

For the period 1996–2000, the CDR formed a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Union (an alliance between the Democratic Party and PSDR) and the UDMR (Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania). At governing level, this grand coalition resulted in the Ciorbea Cabinet (1996–1998), Vasile Cabinet (1998–1999), and Isărescu Cabinet (1999–2000).

CDR 2000

Due to internal frictions within the alliance (as well as given the somewhat inconsistent and turbulent governing from 1996 to 2000), the PNL decided to withdraw from the CDR prior to the 2000 general elections. Nonetheless, PNȚ-CD and other parties ran on the CDR 2000 common list for these elections. The alliance did not manage to score the same positive results as during the 1990s and, consequently, shortly disbanded since it did not pass the electoral threshold.

Notable leaders

Electoral history

Legislative elections

Election Chamber Senate Position Aftermath
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1992 2,117,144 19.46
82 / 341
2,210,722 20.16
34 / 143
 2nd 1 Opposition to PDSR-PUNR-PRM government (1992–1996)
1996 3,692,321 30.17
122 / 343
3,772,084 30.70
53 / 143
 1st 2 CDR-USD-UDMR government (1996–2000)
2000 546,135 5.04
0 / 140
575,706 5.29
0 / 140
(as CDR 2000)3
Extra-parliamentary opposition to PDSR minority government (2000)


1 CDR members in 1992: PNȚ-CD (21 senators and 41 deputies), PAC (7 senators and 13 deputies), PNL-AT (1 senator and 11 deputies), PSDR (1 senator and 10 deputies), PNL-CD (4 senators and 3 deputies), and PER (no senators and 4 deputies).
2 CDR members in 1996: PNȚ-CD (25 senators and 81 deputies), PNL (22 senators and 28 deputies), PNL-CD (1 senator and 4 deputies), PAR (3 senators and 3 deputies), PER (1 senator and 5 deputies), and Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER - 1 senator and 1 deputy).
3 CDR 2000 members: PNȚ-CD, UFD, Ecologist Federation of Romania (FER), National Christian Democratic Alliance (ANCD), and The Moldavians Party (PM).

Local elections

National results
Election County Councilors (CJ) Mayors Local Councilors (CL) Popular vote  % Position
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
1996 1,667,417 19.53
307 / 1,718
2,712,852 26.27
355 / 2,954
1,786,077 19.58
6,525 / 33,429
N/A N/A  2nd 
Election County Presidents (PCJ) Position
Votes % Seats
1992 N/A N/A
6 / 41
1996 N/A N/A
15 / 41
2000 N/A N/A
1 / 41
Mayor of Bucharest
Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1996 Victor CiorbeaN/A
 1st N/A

Presidential elections

Election Candidate First round Second round
Votes Percentage Position Votes Percentage Position
1992 Emil Constantinescu13,717,006
 2nd 4,641,207
1996 Emil Constantinescu13,569,941
 2nd 7,057,906
2000 Mugur Isărescu21,069,463
 4th not qualified


1 Emil Constantinescu was the common centre-right candidate that was endorsed by the PNȚ-CD in both 1992 and 1996 as part of the CDR.
2 Mugur Isărescu was endorsed by the PNȚ-CD at the 2000 elections as part of the CDR 2000 alliance.

Timeline of the constituent parties of the CDR (1991–2000)

See also



  • Dan Pavel, Iulia Huia, <<Nu putem reuşi decît împreună.>> O istorie analitică a Convenţiei Democratice, 1989-2000, Editura Polirom, Iaşi, 2003
  • Roper, Steven D., <<From Opposition to Government Coalition: Unity and Fragmentation within the Democratic Convention of Romania.>>, East European Quarterly, 1997. Vol. 31, 4: 519–542.