Why Does Romania Have a Negative Selection in Parliamentary Elections? An Analysis of the Recruitment and Selection System During the Last Three Legislative Terms



This paper considers theoretical perspectives on the recruitment and selection of political party candidates, in order to analyze the recruitment and selection process of Romanian MPs during the last three legislative terms. The Romanian proportional closed-list electoral system was replaced in 2008 by a majoritarian one, with single-member districts. In the wake of this change, party selectorates have loosened the admission criteria for candidates in parliamentary elections. Selectorates started considering candidates mostly because of their financial power and notoriety, while their education was overlooked. Our analysis shows that the quality of MPs’ diplomas has decreased significantly since 2008. Romanian MPs complete their education, most frequently technical, with MA or PhD degrees. Some get a second BA in fields complementary to their activity in Parliament – such as political, administrative or social sciences. These courses are usually taken later in life, at private universities, which are characterized by easy admission and graduation. Since there is no general rule for submitting their CVs, some MPs omit mentioning the information regarding the educational bodies that issued their diplomas. Romania continues to be characterized by a heterogeneous parliamentarian elite, as opposed to solid democracies, where the elite is formed in renowned universities. The latter also share a common background and are thus rather homogenous. We consider that a successful political reform in Romania should start within the party selectorates and their selection criteria of candidates for parliamentary elections.


parliamentarian elites, elections, selectorates, candidates, negative selection, recruitment, selection criteria, competencies, education, political reform

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