Parliamentary Chamber: Senatul


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 September 1992

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all seats in both Houses of Parliament provided for in the December 1991 Constitution, to succeed the previous transitional legislature which had been elected in May 1990 for a 30-month term.

Background and outcome of elections:

  In June 1992, both Houses of Parliament voted to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 27 September. They had earlier in the same month rejected a government proposal to hold the elections on 26 June.

The elections were the second general ones in the country since the Ceausescu regime was overthrown in December 1989 and were widely expected to put an end to the governmental and parliamentary instability as well as the general climate of uncertainty which prevailed in the country. A new Constitution enshrining a multiparty system, respect for human rights and a free-market economy had been approved by referendum in December 1991.

The poll was contested by some 10,000 candidates representing a total of 83 parties but the front-runners were President of the Republic Ion Iliescu’s leftist National Democratic Salvation Front (NDSF), the 18-party coalition Romanian Democratic Convention (RDC), and the National Salvation Front (NSF) of former Prime Minister Petre Roman. The election campaign was relatively calm in contrast with the previous one for the transitional legislature in May 1990. Top on the list of issues were economic reforms, the position of Romania’s ethnic minorities and the general need for “change”. The NSDF – a splinter organisation of the NSF, the ruling party since the downfall of President Ceaucescu – advocated the gradual implementation of market-oriented reforms while the opposition thought that the pace of these reforms was too slow. The RDC denounced President Iliescu’s communist past and called for the establishment of a ‘normal’ democracy and the encouragement of foreign investments.

On election day, more than 12 million of 16.3 million registered voters went to the polls. Voting was orderly, with no major incidents reported. However, a very high number of ballot papers (12.3%) that had been cast in the legislative elections were declared invalid by the national electoral commission. Results showed that the RDC had performed well in urban areas while the NDSF picked up most of its votes in the countryside and among blue-collar workers. The latter emerged as the largest parliamentary party with some 28% of the votes. However, no one party secured an overall majority.

As for the presidential elections, no candidate obtained the required majority in the first round and so a run-off was held on 11 October between the first two candidates, President Iliescu and the RDC’s leader, Mr. Emil Constantinescu, Mr. Iliescu won with 61.435 of the votes.

The RDC opposition parties challenged the results of the legislative elections, charging fraud and irregularities and calling for the annulment of the results. However, foreign observers considered that the elections had been generally fair although reports of intimidation and violence were confirmed.

On 16 October, the newly-elected Parliament met in its first session and accepted the minority NDSF administration in a vote of the Chamber of Deputies. The RDC and NSF declared that they would be willing to support the NDSF on condition that it committed itself to greater democracy.

On 4 November, President Iliescu appointed a new Prime Minister in the person of Nicolae Vacaroiu, who had no party affiliation. The latter subsequently appointed his Cabinet on 13 November; it was dominated by members of the NDSF but also included several non-party technocrats.

Round no 1 (27 September 1992): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 16,380,663
Voters 12,496,430 (76.28%)
Valid votes 1,507,623 (12.06%)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
National Democratic Salvation Front (NDSF) 3,102,201 28.29
Romanian Democratic Convention (RDC) alliance 2,210,722 20.16
National Salvation Front (NSF) 1,139,033 10.38
Romanian National Unity Party 890,410 8.12
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania 831,463 7.58
Greater Romania Party (Romania Mare) 422,545 3.85
Romanian Democratic Agrarian Party 362,427 3.30
Socialist Labour Party 349,470 3.18

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
National Democratic Salvation Front (NDSF) 49
Romanian Democratic Convention (RDC) alliance 34
National Salvation Front (NSF) 18
Romanian National Unity Party 14
Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania 12
Greater Romania Party (Romania Mare) 6
Romanian Democratic Agrarian Party 5
Socialist Labour Party 5

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 141
Women: 2

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Copyright 1992 Inter-Parliamentary Union