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Twelfth Party Congress

The Twelfth Party Congress in November 1979 was attended by 2,656 delegates representing approximately 3 million party members and by delegations from 98 countries. None of the more senior officials from the other East European and Soviet parties was present. Ceausescu presented a lengthy report detailing the economic shortcomings and mistakes of the previous five years, particularly those in the agricultural sector. He stressed the necessity for greater efficiency and for additional austerity measures, especially energy conservation. Announcing that offshore oil had been found in the Black Sea, Ceausescu proclaimed the goal of energy self-sufficiency within ten years.

On internal party matters, Ceausescu stressed the need for greater discipline and pointed out shortcomings in ideological, political, and cultural activities. To detect potential adversaries, party members' records were to be examined by the Party and State Cadres Commission, headed by Elena Ceausescu.

The Twelfth Congress witnessed an unprecedented attack on Ceausescu's personal leadership by a former high-ranking party official, Constantin Pirvulescu, who openly opposed Ceausescu's reelection as general secretary, accusing him of putting personal and family interests above those of the party and the country. He accused the congress of neglecting the country's real problems in its preoccupation with Ceausescu's glorification. Observers noted that this unprecedented attack came from a man who could not be accused of pro-Soviet sentiments, because he had been a staunch defender of PCR autonomy. Nor could he, at the age of eighty-four, be accused of personal ambition. Pirvulescu's remarks were, according to press reports, evidence of discontent in the party ranks. Pirvulescu was stripped of his delegate credentials, expelled from the congress, and placed under strict surveillance and house arrest.

The congress elected a new Central Committee of 408 members, including 163 alternate members, and a Polexco of 27 full and 18 alternate members. The Polexco Permanent Bureau was expanded from eleven to fifteen members. This steady growth reflected Ceausescu's desire to make the body an institutional gathering of the most powerful people in the government and party.

Data as of July 1989