The Romanian Local Elections 2016

I’m sure that many people will find the following somewhat dry and boring, but since I didn’t find any substantive information anywhere in English on the subject, I thought it would be worthwhile to document all of this for future reference.

Local elections were held on June 5, 2016 and it took until now to get the final results. Only two small towns have results pending due to the necessity of a run-off election.

There were no calls for a recount and we’ll have to wait years (as usual) to find out about ballot stuffing, vote buying, and other illegal shenanigans that accompany all Romanian elections.

But for now, let’s break down the numbers, shall we?

Popularity Contest

After much crowing on social and mainstream media, the PSD (disgraced former PMs Adrian Nastase and Victor Ponta’s party) were declared the “big” winners.

Yes, so popular with the voters are the PSD that they won a grand total of 37.58% of the votes. Officially, just 49.77% of registered voters bothered to participate. Doing the math, this means that a whopping 18% of Romanian voters chose the PSD. Quite a landslide.

Prior to the election, the PSD in parliament switched the rules (as they do before every election) to a first past the post system, knowing full well that their party machine could engineer a plurality of votes in a lot of areas with almost no chance of winning an outright majority (50% + 1).

Since they eked out a victory this time, it looks like their strategy worked. All I can say is that elections are expensive and mostly bullshit, so at least this round of electioneering cost the taxpayers less money.

Official total results:

Party Percentage
PSD 37.58
PNL 31.93
ALDE 6.31
UDMR 5.33
PMP 4.27

PSD = Social Democrats (“left”)
PNL = Liberals (“centrists”)
ALDE = Liberals and Democrats (“right”)
UDMR = Hungarian party
PMP = Progressive (“right”)
UNPR = Union for the Progress of Romania (a weird and mysterious small party with unbelievable power compared to their size – allies with PSD)

The PSD and PNL were infamously in the USL alliance from 2011-2014 so effectively the same two parties have been in power for the last five years.

ALDE and PMP were once the PD (Romanian parties switch names frequently) but split into two camps.

The UDMR, as always, forms an alliance in the parliament with the strongest party/bloc.

Your Excellency

Now let’s look at the “mayoral” races. I put the word in quotes because some of these “cities” are so tiny that it’s almost laughable to consider the chief politician as a proper mayor, but so goes Romanian politics.

Party Percentage
PSD 34.83%
PNL 31.49%
ALDE 5.73%
Independents 5.71%

It should be noted that the UDMR often loses out in some local elections due to micro-Hungarian parties, especially in Szekler territory.

The above percentages break down as follows:

Party # of Mayorships
PSD 1677
PNL 1081
UDMR 195
Independents 53
PMP 18

Did you do all the math yet? Adding those up, that’s 3,114 mayorships (a few other parties and blocs won a handful of mayorships that weren’t included in this list).

According to the information I found, Romania has 103 “municipalities”, 320 cities and 2,761 “communities” that also have a “mayor” for a grand total of 3,184, meaning minor parties/blocs won 70 other “mayorships” by my count.

Furthermore, all of these cities/communities/municipalities have their own local city councils. Here are the results of those:

Party Percentage
PSD 33.64
PNL 29.6
ALDE 6.52
UDMR 4.66
PMP 4.3

Adding those all up, we get:

Party # of councilors
PSD 16,648
PNL 13,193
ALDE 2,504
UDMR 2,284
PMP 1,315
UNPR 1,203

Adding those up, we get 37,147 city councillors but independents and smaller parties/blocs gained a few more that weren’t included in the list.

The grand total is 40,220.

Count the Counties

Wait, did you think we were done? Because we are not!

Romania has 41 judete (counties/states) plus Bucharest, which is treated separately. Each judet has their own “governor” (prefect). Each judet also has its own county council.

Party # of councilors
PSD 579
PNL 496
PMP 37

Adding that up, we get 1,283 county councilors. Smaller parties and blocs won the rest for a grand total of 1,436 county councilors.

Note: the “prefect” job is something akin to the “prime minister” job in the sense that they are not elected directly but are chosen by each judet‘s county council.

Don’t Forget Bucharest!

Of course not!

Bucharest has a “super grand imperial chief” mayor who is in charge of the entire city as well as six “vice” mayors who each rule over one of the city’s six sectors.

PSD won all of these slots, including a rather convincing victory for the Grand Wizard Mayor position. The new High Poobah Mayor of Bucharest is Gabriela Firea, sort of the Sarah Palin of Romania, who received 42.97% of the votes.

Total mayoral positions: 7

Bucharest, of course, has its own network of city counselors. Here’s the data:

Party # councilors
USB 15

For a grand total of 55 Bucharest councilors.

Le Grande Total

Ever wondered how many total politicians there are in Romania?

Note: all figures come directly from the official results.

Job Number
Bucharest mayors 7
Bucharest councilors 55
Mayors 3,184
City Councilors 40,220
County Councilors 1,436
Senators 176
Deputies 407
President 1
MEPs 33

Grand total: 45,519.

Holy shit!

Let’s not forget that every single one of these politicians is paid out of the national budget, as I have written about before. God only knows what the total cost is for paying all of these politicians, as it is very difficult to calculate.

Furthermore, since every politician’s salary and local/regional budget is allocated in Bucharest, party membership is essential to make sure that you get your “fair cut” from whichever party/bloc is currently in power in the parliament.

Romania has roughly 20 million citizens, meaning that there is 1 politician for every 439 people. My word. And that’s just the politicians being paid by the governmen. It doesn’t include all the teachers, doctors, post office employees, police, engineers, accountants and everyone else who is also “earning” a salary (called bugetari in Romanian) funded by the taxpayers.


6 thoughts on “The Romanian Local Elections 2016

  1. I wanted to say that I appreciated your item on the Romanian Local Elections of 2016. There wasn’t much coverage elsewhere. You were quite right that in a first-past-the-post electoral system, with a multiparty system, you could put a big bet that the incumbents in the biggest party are likely to do well..and that turnout will be low because voters will feel disempowered. Hence the results, returning lots of PSD incumbents was almost pre-ordained. One area of particular interest though was the race in some parts of Bucharest — where the reformist USB (union for the salvation of Bucharest) did fairly well and seemed to siphon off some of the anti-PSD vote. In one district, the USB sub-Mayoralty candidate lost only narrowly, and did indeed ask for a recount. I’d be interested to hear your views as to whether USB has potential.


Got something to say? Try to be nice!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.