Electoral Reforms in Romania Towards a Majoritarian Electoral System?

Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Michel De Waele

After the fall of the communist regime, Romania chose to adopt a very inclusive electoral system, namely PR with low threshold and a guaranteed representation of minorities. Since then, the story of the Romanian electoral system is the story of a movement to make the electoral law less inclusive. Legal thresholds have been introduced and raised, and proposals to shift to a majoritarian system are gaining ground among Romanian politicians. In this article, the main motivations pushing for a less inclusive electoral law are examined. It appears that the largest Romanian parties hope the reform will strengthen their political representation. Yet, by proposing a less inclusive electoral law, they are playing a risky game in a political system still marked by high electoral volatility. Furthermore, the dominant model of democracy that guides the choice of electoral rules has evolved. The new model of democracy gives a reduced role to parties and a bigger role to individual politicians. Finally, the memory of the democratic interwar period is losing influence among the Romanian political elite. Consequently, the proportional representation (PR) system in use during this period is losing its attractiveness.

Keywords: Electoral reforms, elections, Romania, electoral systems, institutional choice