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From partisanship to abstention: changing types of electoral behavior in a new democracy

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Tatar, Marius Ioan

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Abstract Post-communist transitions to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe were generally accompanied by an increase of the share of citizens who do not vote. Absentees are usually persons who do not feel close to and do not identify themselves with any political party. The paper builds a typology of voters/non-voters and then examines the changing patterns of electoral behavior in Romania using statistical analysis based on survey data from 1990 to 2008. In the last 20 year of democratic reconstruction in Romania, we can notice a general decline of turnout in parliamentary elections and, in this context, a relative increase of the weight of pragmatic-individualist voters and a subsequent decrease of the relative share of party loyalists in the total share of voters. This raises questions about the credibility of the Romanian political parties and their ability to retain voters from one election round to another. Moreover, there are significant attitudinal and socio-demographic differences between partisan and non-partisan voters, on the one hand, and between voters and absentees, on the other hand. Finally, the paper reconsiders the conceptions and applicability of partisanship in the changing context of elections and voting behaviors in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe.
Keywords Romania; post-communist society; democratization; transition; voter turnout; voting behavior; political participation; political behavior; nonvoter; dissatisfaction with politics; partiality; social factors; demographic factors; voter; typology; political attitude; regional difference
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords political sophistication; rural-urban divide
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 2-30
Journal Journal of Identity and Migration Studies, 7 (2013) 1
ISSN 1843–5610
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs