From 1964 to 1992, the PNC dominated Guyana's politics, mainly through rigged elections. The PNC draws its support primarily from urban Blacks, and for many years declared itself a socialist party whose purpose was to make Guyana a nonaligned socialist state. The party was led by Forbes Burnham who served as prime minister of Guyana from 1970 to 1980 and from 1980 to 1985. After Burnham's death in 1985, President Desmond Hoyte, the next leader of the party, took steps to stem the economic decline, including strengthening financial controls over the parastatal corporations and supporting the private sector. In August 1987, at a PNC Congress, Hoyte announced that the PNC renounced ideological socialism. As the elections scheduled for 1990 approached, Hoyte, under increasing pressure from inside and outside Guyana, gradually opened the political system. The 1992 elections led to a victory of the oppositional People's Progressive Party. Since then the People’s Progressive Party has been the dominant political party and the PNC has been the second largest party. Hoyte ran for president in 1997 and 2001, and remained the leader of the party until his death in 2002. In 2001 the party made an alliance with a group called Reform and in the elections that year received 41.7 % of popular votes and 27 out of 65 seats. In contesting the 2006 elections, the party renamed itself the People's National Congress Reform-One Guyana (PNCR-1G). It lost 5 seats but remains the second largest political party in Guyana.
Party leaders include:
- Robert Corbin, Leader
- Winston Murray, Chairman
- Basil Williams, Vice Chairman
- Deborah Backer, Vice Chairman