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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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Rules that govern electoral choice in Romania Electoral design and re-design


Rules that govern electoral choicein Romania Electoral design and re-design

In the past twenty years, the Romanian ballot box fortunes of the large parties only waxed and those of the small parties only waned. Parts of these fortunes were dependent on intricacies of the electoral formula. Parts were dependent on the way the electoral system was embedded within the political system. Parts were a function of the territorial or constituency operation of the political parties. To these, numerous special provisions that bear differently on the political parties and the voters were added.

Dominant beliefs in any electoral multiparty system hold that somehow citizens’ preferences through the electoral system rules, regulations and provisions will translate into the selection of their representatives. This transfer may be smooth, simple and straightforward, or far apart from all that. Either way, patterns of representation, future options and available alternatives, the life-span of political parties and their position on the political stage, turnout and propensity to vote depend on it. To these purposes, scholars of electoral systems have long paid attention to the design of the rules that chain votes and seats in representative bodies (Hoag and Hallet 1926; Hermens 1941; Duverger 1954; Rae 1967; Riker 1982; Cox 1987, 1990, 1997; Taagepera and Shugart, 1989; Reynolds and Grofman, 1992).

This chapter scrutinizes and exemplifies the specific linkages and mechanisms of the Romanian seat-vote equation. The findings show that a mix of proportional rules were constantly altered to reduce proportionality in...

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