Gerrymandering and Malapportionment, Romanian Style: The 2008 Electoral System


This event will take place on the 1st of February, at 3 p.m, Council Room, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work (Schitu Măgureanu. nr.9) , sector 5, Bucharest.

Varieties of gerrymandering and malapportionment can appear not only in electoral systems where all legislative seats are allocated to plurality winners in single-member districts but also in proportional Single-Member District (SMD)–based electoral systems and in settings where multi-partisan committees draw the district boundaries. This article investigates such a case, in which the main parliamentary parties collaborated in order to minimize the uncertainty regarding intra-party allocation of seats. The 2008 electoral reform in Romania created such opportunities, and both the SMD maps and the electoral results at the parliamentary election held in the same year indicate that the parties collaborated to design a number of safe seats for each of them. We draw on a novel data set that measures the degree to which the newly created SMDs reflect natural or artificial strongholds of concentrated partisan support in otherwise unfavorable political territories, and also assess the malapportionment of these districts. All three types of mechanisms were frequently used, and our logistic regression analyses indicate that nomination from the “right” type of SMD was the main factor deciding which of each party’s candidates got elected. The statistical analyses are complemented by a qualitative investigation of the political composition and design of 9 SMDs.


Aurelian Giugăl holds a PhD in political science from the University of Bucharest, with a thesis focusing on electoral geography (Dobrudja region). Between June 2014 and September 2017, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal South-East European Journal of Political Science (SEEJPS). In 2010 was Research Collaborator at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. In 2015 was the postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of World Economy, Romania Academy. In the same period (2015), he spent a term at the Sapienza – Università di Roma as a Visiting Postdoctoral Student, where he was affiliated with the Dipartamento Di Scienze Documentarie Linguistico Filologiche E Geografiche. He is a collaborator researcher – Interdisciplinary Center of Advanced Research on Territorial Dynamics (CICADIT), University of Bucharest. He is the author and co-author of books published in Romania (Geografia electorală a Dobrogei postcomuniste: 1992-2012, Atlasul electoral al României: 1990-2009) and of numerous articles published in international scholarly journals (Transitions, Space and Politics, East European Politics and Societies & Cultures). He is currently completing a research concerning the 2008 Romanian electoral law and its effects, i.e. increasing the number of Parliamentary seats. His main research interests lie in the field of human geography, primarily on the topics of electoral geography & political geography.

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