ⓘ Greater Romania Party

                                     

ⓘ Greater Romania Party

The Greater Romania Party is a Romanian nationalist political party. Founded in May 1991 by Eugen Barbu and Corneliu Vadim Tudor, it was led by the latter from that point until his death in September 2015. The party is sometimes referred to in English as the Great Romania Party.

It briefly participated in government from 1993 to 1995 in Nicolae Vacaroius cabinet. In 2000, Tudor received the second largest number of votes in Romanias presidential elections, partially as a result of protest votes lodged by Romanians frustrated with the fractionalisation and mixed performance of the 1996–2000 Romanian Democratic Convention government. Tudors second-place position ensured he would compete in the second round run-off against former president and Party of Social Democracy in Romania PDSR candidate Ion Iliescu, who won by a large margin. Parallels are often drawn with the situation in France two years later, when far-right Front National Party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen similarly drew the second largest number of votes and was elevated, but defeated, in the presidential run-off against Jacques Chirac.

Although Tudor clearly remained the central figure in the PRM, in March 2005 he briefly stepped down from the party presidency in favour of Corneliu Ciontu. A primary objective of the move was to provide the appearance of a shift toward the political center and to attempt to align PRM with the European Peoples Party EPP bloc in the European Parliament. During this period the PRM also briefly changed its name to the Greater Romanias People Party. EPP, however, rejected the PRM as a potential member. Tudor stated he refused to join the EPP because of its lack of identity. In June 2005, Tudor asserted that he had decided the new leadership had distanced itself from the founding principles of the party, and he sacked the new leadership and reverted the partys name back to simply the "Greater Romania Party". In November 2005, Ciontu, along with a small faction of the PRM, formed their own party, the Peoples Party, which has since merged with the New Generation Party.

In January 2007, with Romanias accession to the EU Romania Mares five MEPs joined a group of far-right parties in the European Parliament that included the French National Front and Austrian Freedom Party, giving them sufficient numbers to form an official bloc, called Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty. Though due to disagreements, they left the group a few months later, causing its collapse.

                                     

1. History and ideology

The party was founded in 1991 by Tudor, who was formerly known as a "court poet" of communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his literary mentor, the writer Eugen Barbu, one year after Tudor launched the Romania Mare weekly magazine, which remains the most important propaganda tool of the PRM. Tudor subsequently launched a companion daily newspaper called Tricolorul. The partys initial success was partly attributed to the deep rootedness of Ceaușescus national communism in Romania.

Both the ideology and the main political focus of the Greater Romania Party are reflected in frequently strongly nationalistic articles written by Tudor. The party has called for the outlawing of the ethnic Hungarian party, the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, for allegedly plotting the secession of Transylvania.

The party has praised and shown nostalgia for both the military dictatorship of Axis ally Ion Antonescu, whom they consider a hero or even a saint, and the communist regime of Ceaușescu. The party rejected the 2006 Tismaneanu report on the communist dictatorship in Romania as a manipulation of history.

In 2003, Tudor said he would no longer engage in discourse against Jews and Judaism or deny the Holocaust see Corneliu Vadim Tudor. He also said that he had become, in his own words, a "philo-Semite". In subsequent months he and some of his supporters travelled to Poland to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp; and, despite strong objections from the family of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and many Jewish organisations, Tudor illegally erected a statue in memory of Rabin in the city of Brasov for which he was found guilty and fined. During this period, Tudor hired Nati Meir, a Jewish advisor, who ran and won as a PRM candidate for the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. Tudor also hired an Israeli public relations firm, Arad Communications, to run his campaign.