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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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This is a book about parliamentary elections in Romania in the two decades that followed the collapse of the one-party rule. It charts the electoral rules developed and constantly redefined by the political elites. It looks at how people voted and at how parties gained and lost support and elections. It examines both the electoral and the political environments. It takes stock of the long term effects of the electoral system. It tries to make sense of how the elections and the electoral rules worked to structure the Romanian party system and the political preferences of the Romanian voter. The main argument that emerges is that 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. Although in disagreement over arching outcomes of economic policies, political and administrative reforms, the electoral mechanics forced them to maneuver in cooperative ways and share power. Coalitions became a fixture of the national politics, both for parties and voters. In the last instance, parties favored coalitions which performed well as belts to access parliament and government.

Sequence wise, the Romanian case does not fall into pattern of the transition literature. Guillermo O’Donnell and Philippe Schmitter ‘pendulum sequence’ (1986) did not happen in the Romanian case. Democratic...

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