The Nacionalista Party (National Party)
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907. The party began as the country's vehicle for independence, through the building of a modern nation-state, and through the advocacy of efficient self rule, dominating the Philppine Assembly (1907ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“1916), the Philppine Legislature (1916ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“1935) and the pre-war years of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“1941). During the Japanese Occupation political parties were replaced by the KALIBAPI.
By the second half of the century the party was one of the main political contenders for leadership in the country, in competition with the Liberals and the Progressives, during the decades between the devastation of World War II and the violent suppression of partisan politics of the Marcos dictatorship. In 1978, in a throwback to the Japanese Occupation, political parties were asked to merge into the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, although the Nacionalistas preferred to go into hibernation.
Eventually, the party was revived during the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Laurel family, which has dominated the Party since the 1950s. It is now being reborn by the likes of Sen. Ralph Recto, and party president Sen. Manuel Villar. Two of the other present parties, the Liberal Party and the Nationalist People's Coalition are breakaways from the Nacionalista Party.