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Bucharest
January 22, 2021
EDITORIAL

How the turnout at legislative elections has changed in time

The evolution of the turnout in Romania in the 1989-2012 period of time at the legislative elections indicates that Romanians’ interest for this type of elections has constantly decreased. Compared to the first free elections in 1990, Romanian people’s interest for electing the Parliament has decreased to less than a half in 2012.

Since 1989 until 2012, the turnout at the parliamentary elections has continuously decreased, according to a comparative survey conducted by Agerpres.

 

1990 – the record of the turnout

 

The highest turnout was registered at the first parliamentary elections in Romania after the Revolution of December 1989. Out of the total of 17,200,722 voters, a number of 14,826,616 voters attended to the polls on May 20, 1990 (86.19%). 14,825,764 voters attended to the polls for the Senate elections and 14,825,017 voters for the elections of the Chamber of Deputies.

Out of the 73 registered parties and political formations, the clear winner was the National Salvation Front, with 67.53% of the seats. Along with FSN, other 27 formations entered the Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies and seven entered the Senate.

 

1992

 

At the parliamentary elections of September 27, 1992, held together with the first round of the presidential elections, the turnout was slightly lower than the one in 1990. Thus, of the total number of 16,380,663 registered voters, 12,496,430 voters expressed their option (76.29%). Following the elections in 1992, only eight political formations were represented in the legislative forum. The number of the seats in Parliament has decreased compared to 1990, reaching to 484, from 515.

In the Senate, out of the 143 seats, the Democrat Front of the national Salvation has obtained 49 seats, gathering 28.29% of the total number of valid votes, being followed by the Romanian Democrat Convention, with 34 seats and 20.16% of the valid votes. In the Chamber of Deputies, most seats of the 328 seats were taken by FDSN, namely 117 seats, gathering 27.71% of the total valid votes.

 

1996

 

At the parliamentary elections of November 3, 1996, held together with the presidential elections, the turnout was of 76.01% (13,088,388 voters). Out of the approx. 50 political forces that started the electoral race, only six have entered the Parliament.

In the Senate, the Romanian Democrat Convention (CDR) has won 53 seats (30.70% of the total valid votes), followed by PDSR, with 41 seats (23.08%). In the Chamber of Deputies, out of the total number of seats, CDR has won 122 seats (30.17% of the total valid votes), the following position belonging to PDSR – 91 seats (21.52%).

 

2000 – the electoral threshold increases

 

At the parliamentary elections of November 26, 2000, out of the 17,699,727 registered voters, 11,559,458 voters went to the polls (65.31%). While the minimum electoral threshold was 3% for the elections in 1992 and 1996, starting with the elections of November 26, 2000, the 5% threshold was established for parties and the 8% threshold was required for coalitions.

Social Democrat pole from Romania has obtained 36.61% of the votes for the Chamber of Deputies and 37.09% for the Senate. PRM has achieved the best score in its history, finishing in the second place with 19.48% for the Chamber of Deputies and 21.01% for the Senate.

 

2004

 

At the elections of November 28, 2004, when the two types of elections were held simultaneously, the turnout was of 58.51% in the first round and of 55.21% in the second round, of the total number of 18,449,676 registered voters. The elections were held in a new legal framework, affected by the review of the Constitution in 2003. It was the last time when the parliamentary elections and the presidential ones were held together.

The number of the parliamentarians in the Parliament of the 2004-2008 period, namely 332 Deputies (314 elected Deputies and 18 Deputies appointed by the national minorities organizations, others than the Hungarian one) and 137 Senators, was reduced by 16 parliamentarians compared to the year of 2000, due to the decrease of the country’s population.

Of the 52 political formations, parties, alliances and national minorities organizations that submitted electoral lists, only six political forces have entered the Parliament, represented by the PSD+PUR National Union, D.A. PNL-PD Alliance, PRM, UDMR, along with national minorities organizations, others than the Hungarian one.

 

2008 – the lowest turnout

 

The lowest turnout in the electoral history since 1989 in Romania registered at the parliamentary elections of November 30, 2008, when only 39.20% citizens registered on the electoral lists went to the polls (7,238,871 people).  6,886,794 votes (39.2%) have been expressed for the Chamber of Deputies and 6,888,055 votes have been gathered for the Senate (39.2%). The total number of voters registered on the electoral lists was 18,464,274.

For the first time, these elections haven’t relied on the voting lists, the political representatives of the citizens being elected through a mixed system in which candidates and vote were uninominal, and the distribution of the mandates was proportionally made. Besides, parliamentary elections in 2008 were the first elections since 1989 that weren’t simultaneously held together with the presidential elections, as a result of the Constitution’s amendments of 2003, according to which the presidential term has increased from 4 to 5 years.

PDL has won 3 more seats in Parliament than the PSD+PC Alliance. More specifically, PDL had 51 seats in the Senate, compared to PSD+PC Alliance, who received 49 seats, while in the Chamber of Deputies the Democrat Liberals won 115 seats and PSD+PC received 114 seats.

 

2012 – the most numerous Parliament

 

 Legislative elections of 2012 were held on December 9, 2012, and the turnout was of 41.76% (18,423,066 voters); the Social Liberal Union was the alliance that won the most Deputies and Senators seats. Parliamentary elections of December 9, 2012 relied on the same electoral system as the elections of November 30, 2008, which were organized for the first time in a mixed system in which candidates and the vote were uninominal and the distribution of the seats was proportional. Until the elections of November 30, 2008, parliamentary elections in Romania based on a list proportional system.

The total number of the parliamentarians elected in the elections of December 9, 2012 was 588, compared to 471, the number of the parliamentarians in the 2008-2012 Parliament. USL has won the highest number of votes, recording a score of 58.63% for the Chamber of Deputies. USL was followed at a great distance by ARD, which got 16.50%, PP-DD – 13.99% and UDMR – 5.13%. As for the Senate, the Social Liberal Union (USL) achieved the highest score, namely 60.10%, being followed by ARD – 16.70%, PP-DD – 14.65%, and UDMR – 5.23%.

 

 

 

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