Social Democratic Party (Romania)

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Social Democratic Party
Partidul Social Democrat
President Marcel Ciolacu
Secretary-GeneralPaul Stănescu
First-Vice Presidents Gabriela Firea
Sorin Grindeanu
Honorary President Ion Iliescu
Leader in the Senate Lucian Romașcanu
Leader in the Chamber of Deputies Alfred Simonis
Leader in the European Parliament Dan Nica
Founded16 June 2001
Merger ofPDSR
Preceded byPDSR (1993–2001)
FDSN (1992–1993)
Headquarters Șos. Kiseleff nr. 10 Bucharest
Youth wing TSD
Women's wing OFSD
Membership (2014)509,000[ needs update ] [1]
Political position Syncretic [2]
National affiliation Red Quadrilateral
Social Democratic Pole of Romania
Social Liberal Union
Centre Left Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists [19]
International affiliation Socialist International [20]
Progressive Alliance [21]
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colors  Red
47 / 136
[a] [22]
Chamber of Deputies
110 / 330
[b] [23]
European Parliament
8 / 33
1,362 / 3,176
County Presidents
20 / 41
County Councilors
362 / 1,340
Local Council Councilors
13,820 / 39,900

  • a. ^ 1 senator from PPU in PSD parliamentary group
  • b. ^ 4 deputies from PPU in PSD parliamentary group

The Social Democratic Party (Romanian : Partidul Social Democrat, PSD) is the major social democratic [25] political party in Romania [26] [27] [28] founded [26] [27] [28] by Ion Iliescu (officially charged in 2018 with committing crimes against humanity), Romania's first democratically elected president at the 1990 Romanian general election. The largest party in Parliament with initially 47 seats in the Senate and 110 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (as obtained at the 2020 Romanian legislative election), it also has the largest number of mayors as well as the second largest number of local and county councillors and county presidents, thus still being the biggest and most influential political force in the country as of 2021.


PSD traces its origins to the Democratic National Salvation Front (FDSN), a breakaway group established in 1992 from the post-communist National Salvation Front (FSN). In 1993, this merged with three other parties to become the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR). The present name was adopted after a merger with the smaller Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR) in 2001.

Since its formation, it has always been one of the two dominant parties of the country. The PDSR governed Romania from 1992 to 1996, while the PSDR was a junior coalition partner between 1996 and 2000. The merged PSD was the senior party in the coalitions governing from 2000 to 2004, and from March 2014 to November 2015, as well as one of the main coalition partners between December 2008 and October 2009 (with the Democratic Liberal Party) and again between May 2012 and March 2014 (as part of the Social Liberal Union).

The party left government after Prime Minister Victor Ponta resigned in November 2015, only to return as the senior governing party in January 2017, after a major victory in the legislative election of 2016. The founder of the party, Ion Iliescu, became President of the Republic, in office from the end of Communism in 1989 to 1996, and again from 2000 to 2004.


On 7 April 1992, the struggle for power inside the National Salvation Front (Romanian : Frontul Salvării Naționale, FSN) between the more hard-line group led by Ion Iliescu and the more reformist group led by Petre Roman resulted in the Iliescu group withdrawing from FSN and the founding of the Democratic National Salvation Front (Romanian : Frontul Democrat al Salvării Naționale, FDSN), which would later become the present-day PSD.

FDSN won the 1992 elections and went on to govern Romania until 1996. On 10 July 1993, it took the name of Party of Social Democracy in Romania (Romanian : Partidul Democrației Sociale in România, PDSR) upon merger with the Socialist Democratic Party of Romania, the Republican Party, and the Cooperative Party.

From 1994 to 1996, the PDSR ruled in coalition with the right-wing Romanian National Unity Party (PUNR) and Greater Romania Party (PRM), and the left-wing Socialist Party of Labour (PSM). PUNR had ministers in the cabinet chaired by Nicolae Văcăroiu from March 1994 to September 1996. PRM was not present at the Cabinet, but was given some posts in the State administration. The PDSR went into opposition after the 1996 election, which was won by the right-wing coalition Romanian Democratic Convention (CDR).

After 4 years of governmental turmoil and economic downfall, poorly managed by the crumbling CDR, saw PDSR making a fulminant comeback, winning the November 2000 elections, this time in a coalition named the Social Democratic Pole of Romania (PDSR) along with the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR) and the Romanian Humanist Party (PUR). PSDR merged with PDSR on 16 June 2001, and the resulting party took its present name, PSD.

In November 2004, Adrian Năstase, the PSD candidate and incumbent Prime Minister, won the first round of the presidential elections but did not have a majority and had to go to a second round of voting, which he narrowly lost to Traian Băsescu of the opposition Justice and Truth Alliance, who became Romania's 4th president. In the legislative elections of 2004, the PSD gained the largest share of the vote but because it did not have a majority, the other parties that managed to enter parliament, UDMR and PUR, abandoned their respective pre-electoral agreements with PSD and joined the Justice and Truth Alliance, mainly at the pressure of the recently elected president.

Mircea Geoană was elected president of the party in April 2005 by delegates at a PSD Party Congress held in Bucharest. His victory represented a surprise defeat for former President Ion Iliescu, who was expected to defeat Geoană with ease.

On 17 April 2008, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Conservative Party (PC) announced they would form a political alliance for the 2008 local elections. [29]

In February 2010, the Congress elected Victor Ponta as president, after Mircea Geoană lost the presidential elections in December 2009.

On 5 February 2011, the PSD formed a political alliance known as the Social Liberal Union (USL) with the Conservative Party (PC) and National Liberal Party (PNL). [30] The USL was disbanded on 25 February 2014 with exit of the National Liberal Party which immediately entered opposition. [31]

In July 2015, Liviu Dragnea was elected by the Congress of the PSD as the new president of the party, with 97% of the votes from the members. He was elected as leader after the former Prime Minister of Romania Victor Ponta stepped down on 12 July 2015, following charges of corruption that were later dropped.

On 12 April 2019, PSD was suspended from the Party of European Socialists following concerns about judicial reforms of the incumbent PSD government. [32]

In May 2019, after Liviu Dragnea's jailing, Viorica Dăncilă was elected by the Congress of the PSD as the new president of the party. Subsequently, Marcel Ciolacu became president of the party.

Predecessors and successors

Flowchart denoting the political evolution of PSD, from its origins in the FSN in 1990, until the year 2010, with political groups which were both integrated and seceded from the party throughout the passing of time. PSD (Romania) Diagram.png
Flowchart denoting the political evolution of PSD, from its origins in the FSN in 1990, until the year 2010, with political groups which were both integrated and seceded from the party throughout the passing of time.

Parties seceded from PSD

Parties absorbed by PSD

1After the merger, the party changed its name from the Democratic National Salvation Front (FDSN) to the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR).
2After the merger, the party changed its name from the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) to the Social Democratic Party (PSD).


According to Florin Poenaru, "the movement led by Ion Iliescu was from the very beginning the party of local capitalists and not of the industrial proletariat [...] PSD was the party that aggregated the interests of the autochthonous capitalists, but whose electoral basis was the former industrial proletariat." [33] Poenaru states that PSD never said no to the neoliberal agenda, but applied it rather slowly. [33] Andrei Pleșu once stated that the main post-Communist Romanian parties do not act according to some ideology or doctrine. [34]

The party has been described as having centre-left rhetoric and economic policies, while being conservative on personal and ethical matters.



The president of the party conducts the general activity of the party, the activity of the National Executive Committee and the National Permanent Bureau and responds to the Congress on the general work of the Social Democratic Party. The president is elected by secret vote by the Congress for a four-year mandate and represents the party in the Romanian society, in relations with the central and local public authorities, as well as with other parties or organizations in the country or abroad.

Honorary President

PSD Honorary President is nominated by Congress for the four-year mandate of the party's recognized personalities. The Honorary President of the PSD participates with the right to vote in the work of the national governing bodies.

Secretary General

The Secretary-General manages the functional services at the central level and the relationship with the county and Bucharest organizations. It coordinates the Executive Secretariat of the PSD with 7 to 9 executive secretaries. Executive secretaries shall be appointed by the National Executive Committee, on a proposal from the Chair, after consulting the Secretary-General.

Permanent National Bureau

The Permanent National Bureau is the operative body for analyzing and deciding the party. It has the following composition: PSD President, PSD Honorary President, PSD Secretary General, PSD Deputy Chairpersons. At the National Permanent Bureau, the chairman of the National Council, the leaders of the parliamentary groups, the presidents of women and youth organizations, the treasurer, the director of the Social Democratic Institute, the representative of the county administrative council presidents, the mayors of municipalities and the representative of the National League of Mayors and PSD Councilors participate. The National Permanent Bureau meets weekly, usually Monday.

The Permanent National Bureau shall have the following duties:

The National Executive Committee

Coordinates the entire activity of the party between the meetings of the National Council. The PSD National Executive Committee analyzes, debates and decides on the fundamental issues of the Party's work on: the program, the electoral strategy, the political and electoral alliances, the governing program, the structure and the nominal composition of the Government, the validation of the party's preliminary election for the nomination of candidates for senators, MEPs, MEPs and elected local, merging by absorption or merging with other parties; PSD collaboration agreements with trade unions and employers' confederations; the strategy of selecting, preparing, training and promoting the party's human resources, organizing and conducting internal party choices, coordinating the activities of the Youth Organization and the Women's Organization. The adopted decisions are validated by the National Council. The National Executive Committee consists of PSD President, PSD Honorary President, PSD Secretary General, PSD Vice Presidents, President of the National Council, Presidents of County Organizations, Sectors and the Bucharest Municipality Organization, the President of the Women's Organization and the President of the Youth Organization.

National Council

Adrian Nastase during a meeting of the National Council in November 2013 Adrian Nastase la Consiliul National al PSD (10776937183).jpg
Adrian Năstase during a meeting of the National Council in November 2013

The National Council is the governing body of the party in the interval between two congresses. It consists of a maximum of 751 members elected from the candidates nominated by the County and Bucharest Conferences, or proposed by the Congress. The National Council elects and revokes by secret vote the President of the National Council and the treasurer, validates the composition of the National Executive Committee and The Permanent National Bureau; decides to conclude political alliances as well as merge by merging or absorbing with other political parties or political parties; to hear the activity reports submitted by members of the Permanent National Bureau, by the Chairman of the Commission for Arbitration and Moral Integrity, by the President of the National Commission for Financial Control and Treasurer and decides accordingly on the basis of the mandate given by the Congress, according to the provisions of the Statute; is responsible for organizing presidential, parliamentary, euro-parliamentary and local electoral campaigns; analyzes the work of parliamentary groups, women's and youth organizations, the National League of Mayors and PSD Councilors; validates the decisions of the National Executive Committee on the Governance Program and confirms the proposals of members of the Government; resolve the appeals lodged against the decisions of the councils of the county organizations or of the Bucharest municipality; resolves the divergences between the Councils of the County Organizations, respectively the Bucharest Municipality Organization and the National Executive Committee in connection with the nomination of the candidates for the legislative elections, if they persist; approves the party's annual revenue and expenditure budget, decides on its execution.

The PSD National Council meets annually and whenever needed. Deputies, senators and MEPs who are not members of the National Council participate in its meetings without the right to vote. The National Council may decide, on a proposal from the Permanent National Bureau, to organize forums, leagues, associations, clubs and other such bodies for the promotion of strategies in the PSD Political Program, in the Romanian society and in partnership with the trade unions. The party-union relationship as well as the concrete ways of collaboration will be established by the National Permanent Bureau. Within the PSD there are: the National Workers' Forum; National Farmers Forum; National Ecologists' Forum; The National Forum of Scientists, Culture and Art and the Pensioners' League. In order to develop PSD programs and strategies in the field of party life, consultative councils can be set up on: political analysis, image and relations with the media; organization and human resources. The Consultative Council for the Problems of National Minorities of the PSD carries out activities to identify the specific problems faced by national minorities in Romania and develops appropriate solutions and proposals for their resolution.


The supreme governing party of the Social Democratic Party is the Congress, which is convened every four years or in extraordinary cases. The PSD Congress is made up of elected delegates by secret ballot by the County Conferences and the Bucharest Municipality and has the following attributions: adopting or modifying the PSD Statute and the Political Program of the Party; sets out the party's guidelines, strategy and tactics for the period between two congresses; elects the party chairman, the vice-presidents, the general secretary, the other members of the National Council, the National Commission for Arbitration and Moral Integrity and the National Commission for Financial Control; appoints the PSD candidate to the position of President of Romania and the Prime Minister in the event of winning the elections; resolves possible appeals against decisions of other PSD central bodies.

Leadership of FSN, FDSN, PDSR, and PSD

  Also served as President of Romania
  Also served as Prime Minister
  Also served as Chamber President
  Also served as Senate President
Born - Died
PortraitTerm startTerm endDuration
1 Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu (2004).jpg December 1989June 1990c. 7 months
2 Petre Roman 1
Petre Roman.jpg June 19907 April 1992c. 2 years
(1) Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu (2004).jpg 7 April 199211 October 19926 months and 4 days
3 Oliviu Gherman
11 October 1992January 1997c. 4 years
(1) Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu (2004).jpg January 199720 December 2000c. 4 years
4 Adrian Năstase 2
Adrian Nastase3.jpg 20 December 200021 January 20054 years, 1 month and 1 day
5 Mircea Geoană
Mircea Geoana la reuniunea BPN - 02.12.2013 (11173070964) (cropped).jpg 20052010c. 5 years
6 Victor Ponta
Victor Ponta debate November 2014.jpg 21 February 201012 July 20155 years, 4 months and 21 days
Rovana Plumb
Mitingul Electoral al Aliantei PSD-UNPR-PC, Galati - 10.05 (14) (14278213368).jpg 24 June 201522 July 201528 days
7 Liviu Dragnea
Victor Ponta la semnarea declaratiei politice privind infiintarea USL 2.0 - 14.11 (3) (15621867427) (cropped).jpg 12 October 201527 May 20193 years, 7 months and 15 days
8 Viorica Dăncilă
Viorica Dancila June 2019.jpg 27 May 201926 November 20195 months and 30 days
Marcel Ciolacu
Marcel Ciolacu.png 26 November 201922 August 20208 months and 27 days
9 Marcel Ciolacu
Marcel Ciolacu.png 22 August 2020Incumbent11 months and 1 day


1Roman subsequently served as Senate President between November 1996 to December 1999.
2Năstase served twice as Chamber President, the first term from March 1992 to May 1996, while the second from December 2004 to March 2006.


Executive presidents

Notable members

Current members

Former members

Electoral history

Legislative elections

Election Chamber Senate PositionAftermath
1992 3,015,70827.72
117 / 341
49 / 143
(as FDSN)
PDSR-PUNR-PRM-PSM government (1992–1996)
1996 2,633,86021.52
91 / 343
41 / 143
(as PDSR)
Opposition to CDR-USD-UDMR government (1996–2000)
2000 3,968,46436.61
139 / 345
59 / 140
(within PDSR)1
PDSR minority government (2000–2004)
2004 3,730,35236.61
113 / 332
46 / 137
(within PSD+PUR)2
Opposition to DA-PUR 3-UDMR government (2004–2007)
Supporting PNL-UDMR minority government (2007–2008)
2008 2,279,44933.10
110 / 334
48 / 137
(within PSD+PC)4
PDL-PSD government (2008–2009)
Opposition to PDL-UNPR-UDMR government (2009–2012)
USL government (2012)
2012 4,344,28858.63
149 / 412
58 / 176
(within USL)5
USL government (2012–2014)
PSD-UNPR-UDMR-PC government (2014)
PSD-UNPR-ALDE government (2014–2015)
Supporting the technocratic Cioloș Cabinet (2015–2017)
2016 3,204,86445.48
154 / 329
67 / 136
 1st PSD-ALDE government (2017–2019)
PSD minority government (2019)
Supporting PNL minority government (2019–2020)
Opposition to PNL minority government (2020)
2020 1,705,77728.90
110 / 330
47 / 136
 1st Opposition to PNL-USR PLUS-UDMR government (2020–present)


1 Social Democratic Pole of Romania members: PDSR, PSDR (2 senators and 10 deputies), and PUR (4 senators and 6 deputies).
2 National Union PSD+PUR members: PSD and PUR (11 senators and 19 deputies).
3Soon after the elections, PUR broke the alliance and switched sides, joining Justice and Truth Alliance (DA).
4 Alliance PSD+PC members: PSD and PC (1 senator and 4 deputies).
5 Social Liberal Union (USL) was an alliance of two smaller alliances: Centre Left Alliance (ACS) and Centre Right Alliance (ACD). Centre Left Alliance (ACS) members: PSD and UNPR (5 senators and 10 deputies). Centre Right Alliance (ACD) members: PNL (51 senators and 101 deputies) and PC (8 senators and 13 deputies).

Local elections

National results

ElectionCounty Councilors (CJ)MayorsLocal Councilors (CL)Popular vote %Position
1996 1,390,22516.28
290 / 1,718
928 / 2,954
9,483 / 33,429
N/AN/A 1st 
2000 2,241,93027.4
496 / 1,718
1,050 / 2,954
11,380 / 39,718
N/AN/A 1st 
2004 2,957,61732.70
543 / 1,436
1,702 / 3,137
14,990 / 40,031
N/AN/A 1st 
2008 2,337,10227.97
452 / 1,393
1,138 / 3,179
12,137 / 40,297
N/AN/A 2nd 
2012 4,203,00749.68
723 / 1,338
1,292 / 3,121
12,668 / 39,121
N/AN/A 1st 
(as USL)
2016 3,270,90939.60
638 / 1,434
1,708 / 3,186
16,969 / 40,067
N/AN/A 1st 
2020 1,605,72122.32
362 / 1,340
1,362 / 3,176
13,820 / 39,900
N/AN/A 2nd 
ElectionCounty Presidents (PCJ)Position
1992 N/AN/A
30 / 41
(as FSN)
1996 N/AN/A
17 / 41
2000 N/AN/A
29 / 41
2004 N/AN/A
19 / 41
2008 2,234,46528.06
17 / 41
2012 4,260,70949.71
22 / 41
(within USL)
2016 N/AN/A
28 / 41
2020 1,663,39922.86
20 / 41

Mayor of Bucharest

ElectionCandidateFirst roundSecond round
1996 Ilie Năstase N/A
 2nd N/A
2000 Sorin Oprescu 260,689
 1st 353,038
2004 Mircea Geoană 225,774
2008 Cristian Diaconescu 67,251
 3rd not qualified
2012 Sorin Oprescu 430,512
2016 Gabriela Firea 246,553
2020 Gabriela Firea 250,690

Presidential elections

ElectionCandidateFirst roundSecond round
1990 Ion Iliescu 12,232,498
1992 Ion Iliescu 5,633,465
 1st 7,393,429
1996 Ion Iliescu 4,081,093
 1st 5,914,579
2000 Ion Iliescu 4,076,273
 1st 6,696,623
2004 Adrian Năstase 4,278,864
 1st 4,881,520
2009 Mircea Geoană 3,027,838
 2nd 5,205,760
2014 Victor Ponta 3,836,093
 1st 5,264,383
2019 Viorica Dăncilă 2,051,725
 2nd 3,339,922

European elections

ElectionVotes % MEPs Position EU Party EP Group
2007 1,184,01823.11
10 / 35
 2nd  PES S&D
2009 1,504,21831.07
10 / 33
(within PSD+PC)1
2014 2,093,23737.60
12 / 32
(within USD)2
2019 2,040,76522.51
9 / 32
 2nd  PES S&D


1 Alliance PSD+PC members: PSD and PC (1 MEP).

2Social Democractic Union (USD) members: PSD, PC (2 MEPs), and UNPR (2 MEPs).


Political opponents have criticised PSD for harbouring former Romanian Communist Party (PCR) officials, and for allegedly attempting to control the Romanian mass media. A number of its current or former senior members have also been accused of corruption, interfering in the judiciary and using their political positions for personal enrichment. [35] Founding member Ion Iliescu is currently facing prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the June 1990 Mineriad, [36] while former president Liviu Dragnea was convicted for electoral fraud and for instigation to the abuse of public office and currently being indicted for forming an “organised criminal group”. [37] Former president Victor Ponta had also been investigated for corruption, but was ultimately acquitted. [38]

Alleged text transcripts of PSD meetings surfaced on an anonymous Web site just before the 2004 Romanian presidential election. Năstase and his ministers are shown talking about political involvement in corruption trials of the government's members, or involvement in suppressing "disobedient" media. Năstase stated that the transcripts were fake, but several party members, including former PSD president and former Foreign Minister Mircea Geoană, have said they are indeed genuine. Geoană later retracted his statement. [39]

Adrian Năstase temporarily "self-suspended" himself from the position on 16 January 2006 pending investigation of a scandal provoked by his wealth declaration, where he was accused of corruption. [40]

Politicians of the party have occasionally employed "utilitarian anti-Semitism". This means that politicians who may usually not be anti-Semites played off certain anti-Semitic prejudices, in order to serve their political necessities. [41] PSD Senator Dan Șova, at the time party spokesman, claimed, on 5 March 2012, on the Money Channel that "no Jew suffered on Romanian territory, thanks to marshal Antonescu." [42] Elie Wiesel National Institute for Studying the Holocaust in Romania expressed its deep disagreement and indignation over the statements of the spokesman of the party. [43] Following public outcry, Șova retracted his statement and issued a public apology. Nevertheless, the chairman of the party, Victor Ponta, announced his removal from the office of party spokesman. [44]

Between 2017 and 2019 the party, along with its former coalition members, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR/RMDSZ), unsuccessfully tried to pass a series of controversial laws related to the judicial system. In 2018, in a preliminary opinion, the Venice Commission noted that the changes could undermine the independence of judges and prosecutors. [45] This endeavour by the former PSD-ALDE coalition was the basis for the nationwide 2017–2019 Romanian protests, the largest in the country's entire history thus far.

See also

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The Red Quadrilateral was a term used by the media to describe the political alliance that supported the Romanian government between the 1992 and 1996 legislative elections. The 'Quadrilateral', informal at first, consisted of the Democratic National Salvation Front, the nationalist Romanian National Unity Party (PUNR) of Gheorghe Funar and the Greater Romania Party of Corneliu Vadim Tudor, and the neo-communist Socialist Party of Labour of Ceauşescu era Prime Minister Ilie Verdeţ. As Parliament support for the FDSN government was dwindling, the alliance was made official in January 1995. Only the PDSR and the PUNR were awarded government portfolios, the other two only receiving lower-level positions in the government.

Viorel Hrebenciuc

Viorel Hrebenciuc is a Romanian politician and statistician. A member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), he was a member of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies for Bacău County from 1996 to 2014. Convicted multiple times for official misconduct and malfeasance in office, e.g. on 24 December 2019 he was sentenced to 3 years prison.

Marțian Dan was a Romanian politician and university professor.

Marcel Ciolacu Romanian politician

Ion-Marcel Ciolacu is a Romanian politician and the leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), currently the main opposition party. A previously little known politician, Ciolacu came into national prominence when he was propped up by a former leader of the Social Democratic Party to become deputy prime minister in 2018 in the cabinet of Prime Minister Mihai Tudose. Initially given this office in order to control Tudose and report of his activities to Liviu Dragnea, Ciolacu soon broke with Dragnea and became an ally of Tudose against Dragnea's leadership. When Tudose was forced to resign from office due to Dragnea's scheming, Ciolacu was marginalized.


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Coordinates: 44°27′40.46″N26°4′52.85″E / 44.4612389°N 26.0813472°E / 44.4612389; 26.0813472