Policy Brief #63: (English) Landslide Victory for Left-Right Coalition in the Romanian Elections

Less than 42% of Romanians showed up on December 9th 2012 to elect a record number of
legislators, due to an electoral legislation which attributed extra-seats to individual
candidates of nationally representative parties who lost elections in their individual
constituencies. The left-right coalition (Social Liberal) won a record 60% of the vote due to its
drawing on two different constituencies, the urban active one of the liberals and the rural
one, who traditionally voted with Social Democrats. The main gain of this impressive
majority is that the government will no longer need to buy support through pork barrel
allocations, which has been the rule since 2007, when Mr. Băsescu quarrelled with the
Liberals and the center-right coalition broke off. Such allocations were the rule not only to
buy support of a middle layer of MPs, those migrating from minority to majority, but also
towards MPs from the same party with the government. At least a third of winning
candidates have benefitted in one form or another (mostly allocations of public contracts)
form public resources other than their own salaries. The question remains if President
Basescu will nominate the victor, current Prime Minister Victor Ponta, to form a new
government. The landslide victory deprived Mr. Băsescu of many of his other options, so
while he is expected to bargain over individual members of the government, he might have
failed already to convince any politician within the winning alliance to betray Mr. Ponta and
has no choice in the end than to nominate again his enemy to form a government.