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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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Parties and Voters


Regardless of whether or not Romanian political parties were operational and well-designed, people passed judgments on them. Their public and government stances as well as political programs were evaluated against personal and context circumstances. Great expectations fostered in the fervor of the possibility of a new regime shaped peoples’ evaluations. Trust, liking for, and the rationality of the vote exchange were matters of recurring conversation in the public life and much canvassed by the opinion polls. Partisan bandwagons filled in quickly in the early 1990s, but one decade later, most of the craze was gone. Romanian voters cast their votes in secret and in irreverent manner. Less-than-sanguine wisecrackers maliciously cast off any less-than-satisfactory political constructions, programs and performance. In many cases, voters were operating in incomplete information circumstances. In spite of this, they mulled over perceived costs and benefits. Significant parts of the electorate performed evaluations based on scrutinizing past party performances. The immature Romanian electorate did not prove, at all times, able to draw distinctions between individual political constructions and the whole system. Rather, when some parties performed poorly in government, the necessity of multi-party system was shaded. Segments in the electorate behaved like clients in a patrimonial network and supported or rejected parties regardless. For the most part, the typical response of voters to the unwieldy Romanian party system was to move into distrust, detachment and disillusionment rather than to meander aimlessly from one ilk to another.

The data analyzed in this chapter, illustrates...

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