Published 17th May, 2013
The Nationalist Party or NP was founded in April 1907 and is the oldest party with elected representatives in the Philippines. The party describes itself as Centre-right and believes in Conservatism, Filipino nationalism and Neoliberalism.
From its early days the party was an important influence on the country but was perhaps most influential when it helped steer the country to independence under President Manuel Quezon from 1935 onwards. Although in exile during the Second World War the party was back between 1944 and 1946 when it was led by President Sergio Osmeña who returned to the Philippines with General Douglas MacArthur and the liberation forces. In 1946 Osmeña lost the presidential election to Manuel Roxas but by that time the independence plans were in their final stages.
The Nationalist Party ruled once more between 1953 and 1957 under President Ramon Magsaysay and then again between 1957 and 1961 under President Carlos P. Garcia. From 1965 until 1978 the party was led by President Ferdinand Marcos.
Although Marcos started off well he became increasingly dictatorial and when he was exiled in 1986 that was, in effect, the end of the party as a truly national party. Since then the party has retained a rump within the parliament but has struggled to shake off its association with the corruption of the Marcos family.
The Nationalist Party presidential candidate in 2010, Manny Villar, came third with 15.42% of the vote.