The Liberal Party was once the second largest political party in the country, and at the time, was the only credible rival to the Imperial Party. It was founded on the principle that people should be free to make their own decisions in any matter that does not effect other people. This extended both to economic concerns (where the Liberals said that people should be able to conduct business and trade without government interference) and to social issues (where the Liberals said that people should be able to make their own decisions about their personal life without the government lecturing them). The Liberal Party eventually collapsed due to tensions between those who focused on economic liberalism and those who focused on social liberalism.
Colour and Emblem
The official colour of the Liberal Party was a light blue. Its symbol was a set of four interlocked but broken circles - this was meant to symbolise that society, while united, was an association of free individuals.
The party's official name in Lendian was "lo Partido Liberalo", although "lo Partido Libero" (the Free Party) was sometimes used by the party's supporters.
"It is a common flaw to think that because we believe something to be just or correct, we have the right to impose that thing on others. We do not. As long as it does not harm anyone, people should be left to pursue their own moral code without interference, for the powers of the state can be used to promote wrong just as easily as right."
History of the Party
The Liberal Party was founded in 218. It was only the fifth party to be established in the country, and the fourth legal one. The Liberals were created when the Kingdom of Valcaera, the last independent state in what is now Lendosa, agreed to merge into the Lendian Empire. When this occurred, the Liberal Party of Valcaera merged with several liberal-minded organisations and associations from Lendia proper, forming the Liberal Party of Lendia. As part of the annexation agreement, Valcaera had also required the introduction of partial proportional representation to the Imperial Council, making the Liberal Party considerably more viable than it otherwise would have been.
In its first elections, the Liberal Party won nine seats, making it the smallest of the three parties in the Imperial Council. It was regarded with suspicion by both the Imperial Party and the Monarchist Party - the Imperials distrusted it because of itts strong ideological basis (which contrasted with the more pragmatic reformism found in the Imperial Party), while the Monarchists, being a conservative group, disliked the entire basis of the party. Nevertheless, the Liberal Party continued to grow, increasing its number of seats to twelve in 225 and sixteen in 230. In the 235 elections, the Liberals overtook the Monarchists as the second largest party, aided by the split of the conservative vote between the Monarchists and the new Conservative Party.
In the 250 elections, the Liberal Party hit its high point, winning fifty seats. This was considerably below the seventy-four seats won by the Imperial Party, but was still the closest any party had come to rivaling the Imperials. Also of significance was the fact that for the first time since political parties were first established, the Imperials did not have a straight majority in Council, being forced to rely on support from minor parties. Many analysts predicted that the days of Imperial Party dominance were over, and that the country would establish a more typical political duopoly.
Shortly afterwards, however, the Liberal Party began a slow but definite decline. This is partly attributable to the rise of left-wing parties, such as the Socialist Party - the Socialists appealed to the social liberals in the Liberal Party, and began to draw away votes. The Liberal Party's efforts to counter this loss, however, merely alienated the economic liberals within the party, who started looking to the Imperial Party (which had gradually moved away from its early mercantilism and towards market economics). The Liberals increasingly found that by attempting to satisfy both groups, they ended up satisfying neither.
The tension between the two groups also became manifest within the Liberal Party itself. Some members of the party saw social liberalism as the main objective, believing that being free from an arbitrarily imposed moral code was more important than mere matters of money. Some even argued that economic liberalism was not liberalism at all, saying that social liberties were threatened by any concentration of power, including financial power. On the other hand, some members of the party paid most attention to economic liberalism, arguing that the core of liberalism was the freedom to improve one's standard of living. The more radical economic liberals claimed that the social liberals were themselves attempting to "impose their moral beliefs" by restricting economic activity.
The Liberal Party lost ground slowly for most of the 260s, but later began to decline more rapidly as internal tensions became more pronounced. By the time of the 283 elections, the two camps of the party were almost functioning as independent groups - a certain amount of unity in the party orrganisation was maintained, but Liberal politicians of one group rarely worked together with politicians of the other group. On many matters, the Liberal Party no longer voted as a bloc, with each Councillor taking their own position. As a result of the disunity, the Liberal Party performed poorly, winning only sixteen seats. In the 286 elections, the party won only nine.
Finally, in 288 AP, the Liberal Party splintered. The social liberals (now referred to as "left liberals") were a majority of the party's Councillors, but did not control the party organisation itself. After a major policy dispute between the political wing and the organisational wing, the five left liberal Councillors quit the Liberal Party and founded the Equality Party, which attracted a sizable portion of the remaining Liberal Party vote. The remaining four Councillors, all economic liberals ("right liberals") remained under the Liberal Party banner, but none were re-elected. The Liberal Party finally wound down in 290. Some of the last members, all right liberals, later founded the Capitalist Party.
List of Leaders
- Imoso Pendalto (218 - 230)
- Candeso Altiro (230 - 251)
- Quinto Arabalo (251 - 255)
- Calista Sabrosa (255 - 270)
- Auzilio Halhaduro (270 - 277)
- Sardono Rodirio (277 - 281)
- Luis Ladro (281 - 286)
- Julia Sentira (286 - 288)
- Morbeo Iscar (288 - 290)