Did Romania adopt FPTP?

A contact says Romania has changed its electoral system to FPTP. Can anyone confirm (or correct) this?

If it did adopt FPTP, it would be the first country to do so since… When?

24 thoughts on “Did Romania adopt FPTP?

  1. This article (http://tinyurl.com/6tq7s4z
    – in conjunction with Google translate), which the wikipedia articles for the Romanian Cahmber of Deputies and Senate cite, indicates that the Chamber of deputies has indeed adopted a law to that effect. However, I’m not sure if that means it’s been adopted by the entire parliament, and the President’s signature is of course also needed for final enactment.

  2. The article says that the Chamber of Deputies adopted yesterday (22 May) a new electoral law (FPTP). The law was approved by the Senate a few days ago. However, to become official, the law has to be signed by the President of the country. There were instances in which the President did not sign important laws and the situation of the FPTP ois uncertain until the signature arrives. The FPTP system will be used in the local elections (10 June) and the caretaker government wanted to have it also for the legislative elections at the end of 2012,

  3. I think probably the first to change to FPTP from a different system since the Western provinces of Canada switched back to it in the 50’s after their brief stint with AV (+STV in some ridings).

  4. Can we count Germany’s switch from closed-list PR to MMP in 1949 (1990 in the East) as a partial movement “towards” FPTP? Espec since the Reich under Bismarck had used second-ballot SMDs.

    In NZ, of course, changing to MMP was a partial move away from FPTP.

    • Liberia changed from closed-list PR to FPTP (second chamber if MNTV with M=2)… with an intervening dictatorship and civil war.

  5. For the ‘cantonales'(*), the threshold was 10% of registered voters (law n° 76-665 of 19 july 1976) and was raised to 12.5% of registered voters (law n° 2010-1563 of 16 december 2010)

    (*) strange name: the election concerns the departmental council (‘conseil général’); the tier who gives its name to the elections, the canton, is merely the electoral district.

    • See the description at Sean’s blog and a comment here at F&V by Alan Renwick for why the current Romanian system is not MMP.

      And see the photo that I posted of some protests five years ago: there has been demand for single-seat districts for a while. And apparently the not-quite MMP was not a big enough step “towards” FPTP the satisfy that demand.

    • JJ: Good call. While not a case of PR–>FPTP, PNG is indeed one of the very rare cases to have moved from any other electoral system (AV in this case) to FPTP. I was not thinking of cases of adoption at independence, but rather of change within an independent state. But given the use of competitive elections under Australian rule, PNG sensibly belongs in this discussion. It is a case of a conscious decision in favor of FPTP, instead of mere “inheritance” from a pre-democratic regime or a colonial tradition.

  6. I think that, seeing as Romanian governments are based on confidence of Parliament as a whole (joint session of the houses), a better solution would be to have the lower house elected by SSDs, leaving the upper house to be elected by PR. This would effectively make Parliament as a whole (relevant for matters of confidence) elected by mixed-member majoritarian. It would also have the advantage of differentiating the two houses more, which would help make bicameralism more meaningful.

  7. Are there any other polities besides Switzerland and (IIRC) South Africa 1994-96 where the executive depends on the numbers in a joint sitting of the legislature?

    The US echoes these numbers in a separate body. Likewise to a small degree in Australia, which has no separate fast-track procedure for budget measures and where the ultimate authority to resolve deadlocks rests in a post-double dissolution joint sitting.

    I can see this model working for a looser federation, rather than either separate election or lower house alone. It would have the disadvantage, though, that when voting one might not know which was the “upper” house to cast a protest vote in.

  8. In the mixed-members world, the transitions to FPTP in the nominal tier have been relatively frequent: Albania, Lithuania, Hungary are the three “recent” examples that come to my mind

  9. The FPTP debate heads for the Romanian Constitutional Court, according to Nine O’Clock, an English-language Romanian newspaper.

    I saw an allegation somewhere that Nine O’Clock is pro-PDL, but I can’t confirm that. So the following exchange might have a partisan filter:

    PDL spokesperson Sever Voinescu stated that USL made “abusive changes to the electoral law” and that the goal of the law, a goal expressed by [Primer Minister Victor] Ponta and [PNL President Crin] Antonescu, is to destroy PDL. In reply, Premier Victor Ponta stated yesterday that PDL’s Constitutional Court initiative was made in order to pull someone’s leg.

    A couple of weeks ago, Antonescu defended the proposal against attacks that it was anti-democratic, citing a well-known FPTP jurisdiction:

    …Antonescu presented and backed the draft law in the Lower Chamber, dismissing the claims that this system is undemocratic, unconstitutional and unrepresentative. “It’s a voting system that is being used, and the best-known example is that of Great Britain, without anyone questioning the solidity of the British democracy.”

  10. What, no jeers that “FPP has been used by [wheeze, wheeze] PAPUA NEW GUINEA! And FIJI!” this time?

    Those countries are only punchlines when they use a preferential system of voting?

  11. A slight correction to #11 above: the executive in Switzerland does not depend on a joint sitting of both houses for confidence. The 7 members of the federal council are elected by a joint sitting, but they do not need the confidence of the legislature at all, and indeed, cannot even be impeached or removed from office by any means until the end of their term. They may be suspended from their duties, by Parliament, but no new election could be held to fill the unexpired term unless the Councillor in question resigned.

    Quite interestingly, between 1872 and 2003, every single Councillor who chose to run for re-election to the Council was reelected.

  12. Chris, all quite true but NB that @11 i wrote “depends on the numbers in…” which words i selected quite deliberately to cover the Swiss arrangement.

  13. The Constitutional Court has ruled that the new electoral law is unconstitutional. In fact, it seems to have ruled that the whole of the bill is unconstitutional. If your Romanian is up to it, then there’s information here: http://bit.ly/KNgCWr

  14. The 2012 legislative elections in Romania are over and the ‘central bureau’ has completed the complex allocation of seats in application of their curious mix of PR and single-member districts.

    Maybe this electoral system is not MMP, but it sure has ‘overhang’ seats: while there was only one in 2008 (Chamber, Arad county, PD-L), both houses are now inflated (C 333->412 / S 137->176) because the first party got so many seats in the first allocation step (local absolute majority).

    • JD, that could be. I guess I am less surprised about cases moving in this direction after an authoritarian or civil-war interlude than by a direct change via democratic reform. Also less surprised when the country making the change in this direction is a former British (or US) possession. On the other hand, given the general disfavor of FPTP when countries have a chance to make a choice, it is still surprising.

  15. Pingback: Polish electoral system referendum | Fruits and Votes

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