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Strategic effects of electoral rules: testing the impact of the 2008 electoral reform in Romania

[journal article]

Feșnic, Florin N.; Armeanu, Oana I.

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-445885

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Abstract In 2008, Romania changed its electoral system from party list PR to single ballot mixed. A major reason behind this reform was to strengthen the ties between the candidates and their constituents, and our goal is to test whether this has happened. More specifically, we want to see whether the ideological vote inherent in a party list PR system has been replaced by a "personal" vote, i.e. by a vote based on the personal qualities of candidates, rather than their ideological affiliation. To this end, we analyze aggregate electoral returns from Romania’s 3.000 localities, and rely on the notion of "uniform partisan swing", which states that the level of regional support for a given party in an election is an excellent predictor of its level of support in the same locality or region in the next election. Our expectation was that the new electoral system will lead to a decrease in ideological voting and a larger impact of the qualities of individual candidates. We found a lower correlation between regional support for parties in the 2004 and 2008 elections, compared to the correlation between the 2000 and 2004 elections. This appears to indicate a substantial impact of the electoral reform. However, another test, the correlation between the party votes for the two Chambers of Parliament in 2008, compared to the correlation in 2004, did not confirm it. Instead, it appears that the changes in the patterns of regional and local support for various parties, quite noticeable in the last parliamentary election, are caused by dealignment, rather than electoral reform.
Keywords party system; electoral system; structural reform; election campaign; voting; Romania
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 185-199
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 14 (2014) 2
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works