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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: candidates


A second election tale is intrinsically linked to and sequentially positioned afore voting events in all democracies: that of the candidates that will contest. This process has important consequences on the conduct of legislative and government politics, the behavior of voters and the character of the parties (Duverger, 1954; Ostrogorski, 1964; Hazan and Pennings, 2001; Siavelis, 2002; Ohman, 2004). Varied procedures can be used to settle this selection; in some political systems direct-primary elections are the norm, which calls on party pre-registered supporters to designate the party candidates; in some cases only dues-paying party members are given a voice in the choice of nominees; in some cases the party central leadership has direct say and strict control of the nominations; in some cases the local branches of the party structure have large autonomy in designating the aspirants (Ranney, 1968; Matthews, 1985; Taagepera and Shugart, 1989; Norris, 1997; Patzelt, 1999; Shaw, 2001; Weeks, 2007).

In the case of Romania, the candidates’ arena for most of the 1990s and 2000s was jam-packed by a multitude of players that jockeyed for a better position on the party lists. Conventional wisdom in this country is that candidates’ selection is a highly centralized phenomenon, a process controlled by the party leadership who finally designates their preferred nominees with virtually no legal or organizational encumbrances. In practice, following a first stage of under-regulation at the parties’ level, the procedure for which most relevant parties opted to settle the selection, supposed that dues-paying...

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