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Romanian Parliamentary Elections 1990–2012

Stability and Stir

Cosmin Gabriel Marian

This is a book about parliamentary elections in Romania in the two decades that followed the collapse of the one-party rule. It charts how the electoral rules developed, it looks at how people voted, and takes stock of the long term effects of the electoral system. Despite commotion and experimentation in the electoral rules and stir in the political arena, the Romanian election outcomes over the past two decades are surprisingly monotonous. Twenty years after they entered the first electoral cycle in 1990, the Romanian political parties and partisan groups were about in the same condition: quarters united against themselves.
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The Transition Set


In a maxim of political science, a society in transition is symptomatically a halfway society (Mainwaring, O’Donnell and Valenzuela, 1992; Hagopian, 1993; Linz and Stepan, 1996; Diamond, 1999). Political transitions begin with political emancipations and label swap. The rest is changing with different degrees of swiftness. When it comes to the transition of a society from a non-democratic regime to a democratic one, the debate is typically heated around three broad explanations: features of the social and political structure, economic and social background and, beliefs and attitudes of the citizens (Rustow, 1970). To provide context for discussing the transition of the electoral ingredients, this chapter sifts evidence on each of these three dimensions in the case of Romania. The first part lays out an assessment of the political environment and players that were inherited from the old regime as well as those that were novel in the new society. The second scrutinizes variables that portray the structure of the society as a whole. The third takes up opinions and perceptions of the Romanian post-communist realities.

Old and new ingredients in the new political environment

In the early 1990s, the broader setting of the Romanian society was dominated by endemic uncertainty. Social unrest was rambling in the months following the collapse of Ceausescu’s regime as huge street manifestations broke out in major cities against the new power structures composed mainly of people from the second and third layers of the Communist Party. The uncertainty barometer...

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