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1967 Party Conference

At a special National Conference of the PCR in December 1967-- the first such event in twenty-two years--Ceausescu continued to strengthen his position. Attending the conference were members of the Central Committee and 1,150 delegates from local party organizations. Ceausescu elected to employ the technique of the party conference rather than a special party congress in order to have his proposals approved by a larger body than the Central Committee. At the same time, he wanted to avoid election of a new Central Committee, which a party congress would have required.

Ceausescu proposed a number of reforms in the structure and functioning of the party and government, and he asserted the need to eliminate duplication. He proposed that the Central Committee limit itself to basic decisions of economic policy and that specific matters of implementation be left to the ministries.

Political and ideological activity, Ceausescu proposed, would remain under the control of the Central Committee and would be given greater emphasis and direction through the creation of an ideological commission that would develop an intensified program of political education. A defense council, composed of the party's Standing Presidium and other members, would be established to deal with most military questions, but basic guidance for both the armed forces and the state security apparatus would remain the responsibility of the Central Committee. Major foreign policy questions would be decided by the Standing Presidium.

Ceausescu proposed several reforms in the organization and responsibilities of government organs and called for redrawing the country's administrative subdivisions. He sought to broaden the activities of the GNA and its commissions, and he recommended a larger role for the Council of Ministers in formulating long-term economic plans. In addition, he suggested that the heads of three important mass organizations--the UGSR, the UTC, and the National Union of Agricultural Production Cooperatives--be included in the government and be given ministerial ranking.

The National Conference unanimously adopted Ceausescu's proposals and reversed the party statutes adopted in 1965 that prevented the party leader from simultaneously holding the position of head of state. The official rationale for uniting the highest offices of the party and state was to eliminate duplication of functions and increase efficiency. Stoica was given a position in the party Secretariat and later, in 1969, was named chairman of the Central Auditing Commission.

In implementing Ceausescu's recommendations, certain positions in the party and state organizations were fused. For example, judet and city party first secretaries became chairmen of the corresponding people's councils, and secretaries of local party units and labor union representatives became involved in the councils of industrial enterprises.

Immediately following the National Conference, the GNA convened to elect Ceausescu president of the State Council. Apostol was demoted from his position as a first deputy prime minister to his previously held post of UGSR chairman. Draghici was removed from the party Secretariat and given a position as a deputy prime minister under Maurer, who was reappointed prime minister. With the successful demotion of his chief rivals, Ceausescu emerged at the close of 1967 as the undisputed leader of both the party and the state.

Data as of July 1989