|Reform & Liberty Party|
|Abbreviation||RLP, Navonian liberals|
|Government||leading party from 1981-1991|
|Leaders|| Ernesto Altiero (1921-1951)|
Tom Forest (1951-1966)
Simon McVain (1966-1991)
Suzy Parker (1991-2005)
Salvadore Ross (2005-present)
The Reform & Liberty Party (RLP) is a Navonian political party that holds liberal views and defends federalist principles. It was founded in 1921 as the Reform Party and changed to its current name after the disastrous election results of 1946. The Reform & Liberty Party is the strongest oppositional party in Navonia, holding 30 seats and being the second biggest party ever since 1986. The Unity Party was dominant partner within the government coalition from 1981 until 1991. The RLP is often associated with the Selessian cause because of its good results in the Selessian regions. The chairman of the Reform & Liberty Party is Salvadore Ross.
The Reform Party was founded as such for the elections of 1921. The party scored very weak in these elections, gaining only 7 percent of the votes. It was nonetheless a partner to the governing Unity Party in approving the new constitution that would found the Republic of Navonia. The conservatives opposed to the constitution so the governing party had to gain the support of the liberals. The Reform Party agreed in exchange for regional parliaments. A compromise was formed by which the regions would remain subordinate to the national parliament. With the global recession of 1929 and growing international tension, the government turned the country inwards and tightened its control of the economy. The liberals could profit from their opposition and had almost doubled their electorate by 1936. In that year, the Reform Party formed a front with Unity Party against the growing forces of conservatives and extreme-rightists. The Reform Party again demanded concessions in exchange for its support. This time they asked that more economic freedom would be given. The UP formally agreed but no actual measures were taken.
After the Second World War had broken out, the 1941 elections were cancelled. To 'maintain the necessary stability' the Reform Party entered a government of national unity which was formed on Unity Party initiative. This oppressed the liberal economic aspirations of the Reform Party. The Reform Party was punished for its 'collaboration' with the Unity Party in the 1946 elections, falling back to their original 7 percent. Also, due to a rising leftist tendency in the governing Unity Party, the Reform Party radicalized. It adapted an outspoken liberal stance and renamed itself to Reform & Liberty Party. When in the late 50's the Conservative Party split up and the liberal opposition was strengthening, polls predicted a major victory for the RLP. Government however managed to pass a new voting law that made representatives appointed nationwide instead of by province. Due to this new regulation, only 14 RLP-members got elected in 1961. The liberal region of Upper-Selessia was upset and threats of secession where made. The government, still the UP/CP coalition, raised pressure on the rebellious region and forced the RLP to distance itself from Selessian nationalism.
The strength of the governing coalition was fading. The economic crisis of the 70's proved an insurmountable obstacle and in the 1981 elections the RLP became the biggest party of the country. A new coalition was formed with the Democratic Union and the Progressive Party. Simon McVain became Navonia's first and only High Representative. The RLP wanted to execute a harsh liberal policy, something the Progressive Party couldn't take. The Progressive Party was dropped for the Conservative Party and the neoliberal measures where put into action. In the next elections the government partners had to face severe losses. The newly formed and leftist PULP proved a worthy opponent. The situation was so dubious not even a majority could be reached. A RLP-DU minority cabinet was formed with support from the Conservative Party on crucial issues. PULP overran the RLP in the 1991 elections and the RLP was send back to the opposition. Ever since Salvadore Ross became the new chairman in 2005, the party seeks rapprochement to the Integrationist League.
The Reform & Liberty Party is an outspoken neoliberal party. It often campaigns with promises to lower tax pressure on the people and business and to cut back government spending. The strong leftist government is often blamed by the RLP for economic setbacks. Other economic themes stressed by the RLP are the abolition of trade tariffs, lowering of government subsidies and the liberalization of state controlled sectors. These issues raise support amongst higher educated and more wealthy Navonians, though PULP also manages to appeal to the higher classes.
Next to its economic program, the RLP also strives to reorganize the Navonian state according to a federalist model. This causes that the RLP is the strongest party in the Selessian regions. The RLP also seeks rapprochement to the Integrationist League and defends a renewed democracy for Navonia.