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Senatul (Senate)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlamentul României / Parliament of Romania
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Senatul / Senate
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Camera Deputatilor / Chamber of Deputies
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 30 November 2008
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the Senate on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
The November 2008 elections were the first to be held following the country's accession to the European Union (EU) in January 2007.

In the previous elections held in November 2004 in parallel with presidential elections the Social Democratic Party (PSD)-Humanist Party of Romania (PUR) Alliance became the largest party in both chambers winning 132 seats in the 332-member Chamber of Deputies and 57 seats in the 137-member Senate. The Justice and Truth Alliance comprising the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Party (PD) came in second with 112 seats for the PNL and 49 for the PD. The Party of Greater Romania (PRM) took 48 seats in the lower house and 21 in the upper house. The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) took the remainder.

In the run-off presidential elections held in December 2004 Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu (PD) defeated the outgoing Prime Minister Adrian Nastase (PSD). Mr. Basescu resigned as PD leader upon assuming the post of President. He nominated Mr. Calin Popescu-Tariceanu (PNL) as Prime Minister. The new government comprising the PNL the PD the PUR and the UDMR was approved by the parliament in late December. The PUR renamed itself the Conservative Party (PC) in May 2005 and left the coalition in December 2006.

Both the President and the Prime Minister advocated free-market policies in view of the country's accession to the European Union (EU). Prime Minister Tariceanu implemented a series of reforms in particular aimed at combating corruption. The annual inflation rate dropped to 7 per cent following a decade of double-digit rates. The economic growth rate surpassed 8 per cent following the introduction of a flat rate of 16 per cent for income and corporate tax in January 2005. The country's economy was further boosted by the flow of remittances (totalling US$ 8.95 billion in 2007) from an estimated two million Romanians working abroad.

However the relationship between the President and the Prime Minister steadily worsened. In February 2007 the PSD and the PRM called for the suspension of the President for unconstitutional conduct. In early April Prime Minister Tariceanu dismissed PD ministers and formed a minority government arguing that the country needed a coherent government. The new government comprised the PNL and the UDMR and enjoyed the conditional support of the PSD. President Basescu called for early elections (the President does not have the power to dissolve parliament and call elections unless parliament fails to approve the cabinet). Later the same month parliament voted to suspend President Basescu paving the way for a referendum to impeach him. In May Romanians rejected the impeachment proposal by over 74 per cent of the vote. President Basescu was subsequently reinstated by the Constitutional Court.

In January 2008 some PNL members joined the PD and formed the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L) under the leadership of Mr. Emil Boc. The power struggle between the Prime Minister and the President continued until the 2008 elections.

Prior to the 2008 elections the country was experiencing an economic slowdown due to the global financial crisis. On 27 August the government set the election date for 30 November and announced that it would increase pensions by 20 per cent starting from 1 November. On 29 September however the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill increasing teachers' salaries and pension grants by 50 per cent. Prime Mininster Tariceanu challenged the bill before the Constitutional Court arguing that the government had insufficient funds to implement such drastic measures. The government postponed the pay rise for teachers by six months. On 27 October President Basescu signed the bill on the pay rise into law. On 29 October the PD-L filed a no-confidence motion against the government challenging the government's decision to postpone the pay increase.

The election campaign officially started on 31 October. In all 2 965 candidates (2 070 for the Chamber of Deputies and 895 for the Senate) were vying for seats in parliament in the 2008 elections. Following the revision of the electoral system in March 2008 citizens voted for individual candidates in single member constituencies instead of for political party lists.

The main contenders were the PD-L the PSD-PC alliance and the PNL. Other contenders included the PRM led by Mr. Corneliu Vadim Tudor the UDMR of Mr. Marko Bela and the New Generation Party-Christian Democratic (PNGCD) led by a wealthy businessman Mr. George Becali.

The PD-L which has close ties with President Basescu enjoyed support among young urban Romanians. It promised to accelerate privatization; finalize the restitution of property confiscated under the communist regime within two years; maintain the flat tax rate; introduce the euro in 2014; and bring the average wage up to 900 euros. The PD-L also advocated a unicameral parliament of 300 members arguing that Romania should use the European Parliament as a model.

The PSD was led by Mr. Mircea-Dan Geoana former foreign minister and a former Romanian ambassador to Washington. Mr. Geoana criticized the government for exposing the country to financial disaster. He called for more spending on welfare. The PSD promised to consider lowering income taxes for the poorest while keeping the flat tax rate at 16 per cent for the rest of the population. It also promised to raise the minimum salary to 1 000 lei (about 280 euros); lower energy costs for the lowest-income earners; reduce the VAT on food to 5 per cent; and provide more free and compensated prescription medicine.

Prime Minister Tariceanu's PNL called for voters' continuing support for the economic and judicial reforms. The PNL had been known for its pro-business policies but had promoted more social protection policies during the minority government which relied on the support of left-wing parties. In the 2008 elections however the PNL once again campaigned on a pro-business platform promising to revive the country's economy. It also pledged to introduce the euro by 2014.

In all 39.20 per cent of the 18.4 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

The PD-L became the largest party in both chambers winning 115 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 51 seats in the Senate. The PSD-PC alliance followed closely with 114 and 49 seats respectively. The PNL won 65 and 28 seats each while the UDMR took 22 and nine seats.

The newly elected parliament held its first session on 15 December. On 19 December 2008 the Chamber of Deputies elected Ms. Roberta Alma Anastase (PD-L) as its new Speaker while the Senate elected Mr. Mircea-Dan Geoana (PSD) as its new President.

Negotiations began over the formation of a coalition government. President Basescu first nominated former senior World Bank official and deputy leader of PD-L Mr. Theodor Stolojan as Prime Minister. The latter subsequently withdrew apparently because of poor health but also because he thought a new generation should lead the new government. President Basescu then nominated the 42 year-old PD-L leader Mr. Boc. On 22 December Parliament endorsed Mr. Boc's coalition government comprising the PD-L and the PSD. It was the first government involving the two major political parties since the anti-communist uprising of December 1989.
Voter turnout
Round no 130 November 2008
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
7'238'871 (39.2%)

Notes Blank or invalid ballot papers: 349 101
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L) 2'312'358 33.57
Political Alliance Social Democratic Party (PSD) - Conservative Party (PC) 2'352'968 34.16
National Liberal Party (PNL) 1'291'029 18.74
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) 440'449 6.39
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L) 51
Political Alliance Social Democratic Party (PSD) - Conservative Party (PC) 49
National Liberal Party (PNL) 28
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) 9
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
31 to 40 years
41 to 50 years
51 to 60 years
61 to 70 years
Over 70 years
Distribution of seats according to profession
Architect surveyor engineer 43
Economist 25
Legal profession 23
Education profession 19
Physician dentist 11
Agriculture/farming 9
Writer literary artist 3
Armed services/Police 2
Social worker 1
Journalism broadcasting media 1
Parliament (17.12.2008 18.02.2009 05.01.2012)

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