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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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Supply side: parties


Apparently, in the 1990s, political parties found a natural proliferation arena in Romania. This was facilitated by the initial simple registration conditions and by the appeal of these new vehicles able to promote personal bids for political power. The stock of contenders was fickle. Several dozens were formalized at any given moment of time but on ballot slips, acronyms were almost always new. All struggled to find candidates in all 42 constituencies of the country, all faced important MPs volatility. Only a minority thrived, the rest tested the vacuum. The stake, at the national as well as at the local level, was to plunge into the state apparatus in order to accumulate influence over the large segment of the society that was state-employed, to gain control over public resources and, to use it to move into power positions within the new political system. The founders tried to pattern a multi-party system mimicked after Western European vintage (Pasti, 1995; Karasimeonov, Lawson and Rommele, 1999; Pavel and Huiu, 2003; Preda and Soare, 2008). A carbon copy range of political stands was soon put in place. Most noticeable were: Christian-Democrats, Social-Democrats, Liberals and Nationalists. In the two decades that followed the collapse of the communist regime, the entire armada of Romanian political parties was engaged in bitter fights for one of these conceptual niches. The ideological model was that of a dominant party attaching itself a label that was then challenged by a flock of small and highly volatile aspirants. In...

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