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Legal framework

Free elections were one of the main objectives of the December 1989 Revolution, their necessity as premise to instaurate democracy being claimed by the protesters who populated on 22 December 1989 the currently known Revolution Square.

The first parliamentary elections after 1989 have unfolded in accordance with the Decree - Law no. 92 of 14 March 1990 for the election of the Romania's Parliament and President.

In the Communique to the Country of the Council of National Salvation Front (CFSN) on the evening of 22 December 1989 the organization of free elections was announced with a view to express the citizens' options for a parliamentary regime based on a multiparty system, a paramount guarantee of the human rights and democratic values observance. As a result, the CFSN submitted to public debate a Decree-Law draft on the election of Romania's Parliament, President and the local councils.

The first meeting dedicated to debating the draft law of the Electoral Law by the Constitutional, Legal and for Human Rights Committee with the CFSN took place on 27 January 1990. Conceived as a round table, the meeting was attended by representatives of all of the political parties legally established after the 1989 Revolution. Representatives of other political formations at that time under way of shaping up and legal registration also participated in the round table as observers.

The talks on the electoral draft law went further within the subsequent round tables on 3, 10 and 14 February 1990. Within the last meeting, the participants, representatives of all political parties and formations have reached an agreement upon the new bill provisions. The document was subsequently submitted to debate and approval of the Provisional Council of National Unity (CPUN).

After the CPUN sessions of 9 and 13 March, on 14 March 1990, with one single nay vote and two abstentions, the Council has passed the Decree-Law no. 92/14 March 1990 for the election of Romania's Parliament and President, the first free parliamentary and presidential elections being set for 20 May 1990.

The electoral law provided among other things the fundamental principle of the separation of powers in the new state, the rule of law, the legislative power being carried by Parliament which was elected by universal, equal, direct and secret, freely expressed vote. The Members of Parliament were to be elected by proportional vote on party tickets, with no electoral threshold.

According to the law, on 20 May 1990 a bicameral parliament was to be elected: the Deputies Assembly (lower chamber) and the Senate (higher chamber). These two chambers, in a joint session, were to establish themselves into a Constituent Assembly. In its turn, this last forum has had as main goal to adopt Romania's Constitution. After the new fundamental law was coming into force, the parliament was to decide to organise elections, within a year at the latest.

The candidates for the Deputies Assembly and the Senate were to be elected on separate tickets, as they were submitted by the parties, the political formations or on which independent persons were registered.

The Deputies Assembly was to be made of 387 deputies whom the national minorities' representatives were to be added to. Citizens of at least 21, on condition they had a right to vote, have had the right to be elected for the Deputies Assembly. The second chamber of the Romanian Parliament, the Senate, was made of elected senators depending on the counties' population as follows: in the counties with up to 500,000 inhabitants two senators each were elected, in those with population from 500,001 up to 750,000 - three senators each, and in the other counties elected were four senators each. As for Bucharest, as many as 14 senators were to be elected. In order to be elected senator, one should have been at least 30 and have the right to vote.

As for the minorities, the electoral Law provisions were saying that their representation was ensured based on the proportional representation system of the seats resulted from voting. Likewise, the organisations representing the national minorities which did not meet the number of the necessary votes to get a seat in the Deputies Assembly, have had the right to a deputy seat on condition that these organisations were already registered at the date of passing of the Decree-Law 92.

Electioneering of first parliamentary election of the post-communist period

On May 1990, along the first parliamentary election took place simultaneously the first presidential election of Romania after the 1989 Revolution.

On 20 March 1990, in accordance with the electoral Law provisions, the electoral campaign was launched countrywide.

As many as 73 legally registered political parties and formations have submitted nominations for the first free elections of Romania. They were as follows: National Salvation Front (FSN), the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), the National Liberal Party (PNL), the Ecologist Movement of Romania (MER), the Christian Democratic National Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Alliance for Romanians Unity - the Romanian National Unity Party of Transylvania and the Republic Party (AUR - PUNR and PR), the Agrarian Democratic Party of Romania (PDAR), the Romanian Ecologist Party (PER), the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD), the Romanian Social Democracy Party (PSDR), the Centre Democratic Group (GDC), the National Reconstruction Party of Romania (PRN), the Party of Free Party (PLS), the Labour Democratic Party (PDM), the 'Bratianu' Liberal Union (ULB), the Free Democratic Youth Party of Romania (PLDT), the Cooperative Party, the Christian Democratic Union, the Democratic Roma Union of Romania, the German Democratic Forum (FDG), the Liberal Party of Freedom in Romania, the Ecologist Democratic Party, the Democratic Unity Party, the Democratic Unity of Moldavia Party, the Labour Party, the Christian Republican Party, the 'New Romania' Centre Group, the Humanist Ecologist Party - founded in Arad; the Turkish Muslim Democratic Union, the Ukrainians Union of Romania, the Christian Union Party of Romania, the Romanian Christian Democratic Social Party, the Gypsies Party of Romania, the Labour and Social Justice Party of Romania, the Romanian Party for New Society, the Romanian Peasant Party, the Republican Union Party, the Party for National and Democratic Reconstruction, the Democratic Party of Cluj, the Radical Democratic Party, the Democratic Free Union of Roma in Romania, the Romanian People's Front of the National Salvation, the Association of Former Political Prisoners and Dictatorship Victims of Romania, the Humanitarian Peace Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Romania, the 'Dom Polski' Poles of Romania Union, National Republican Party, the Anticommunist and Antifascist 'Libertatea' Workers Alliance, the Lippovans Community of Romania, the Christian Democratic Roma Party of Romania, the Hungarian Independent Party, the Armenians Union of Romania, the Bulgarian Cultural Association of Bucharest, the Serbians Democratic Union of Romania, the Slovaks and Czechs Democratic Union of Romania, the Greek Union of Romania, the Democracy and National Unity Forum of Romania, etc.

Approximately 5,700 candidacies were submitted for the Deputies Assembly and 1,580 for the Senate. As independents as many as 212 persons have lodged bids for the Deputies Assembly and 126 for the Senate. According to the law, were organized 42 electoral constituencies for each county and for Bucharest Municipality, as well as 12,630 polling stations.

To ensure the correctness of the 20 May's election, as well as to guarantee equal conditions of speech for all parties and political groups, for each citizen the invitation of a large number of foreign observers was decided with the goal to watch the electoral process. Therefore, as many as 360 foreign observers were accredited.

The 'historic' parties of Romania, namelythe Christian Democratic National Peasant Party (PNTCD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Social-Democratic Party (PSD) have signed an agreement of electoral nonaggression and joint behavior providing, among others: to avoid any propagandistic attack or negative words towards the signatory political formations; to take all steps for their representatives in the election offices to hamper any electoral fraud; to back if a run-off was necessary for the president election, the candidate of the cosignatory party that was best placed in the race. The joint declarations' signatories - the chairpersons of the three parties - have announced that regardless of the outcome of the election, their parties would stay united and would not join a government next to a political formation established on the old communist structures.

Election results

The lack of a threshold condition with the Electoral Law made the entrance to Parliament possible for no less than 27 political formations in the Deputies Chamber (out of which 11 with the national minorities) and 7 in the Senate. Anyway, an accentuated imbalance was recorded between the winner, FSN (67.53pct of the votes) and the other political formations.The next three parties after FSN were UDMR and PNL each with rd 7 percentage points.

The first parliament in Romania's post-Revolution history also operated as a Constituent Assembly, drafting the fundamental law of Romania - the Constitution - that was passed on 21 November 1991 and approved by national referendum on 8 December same year.

In the Senate, FSN has got 67.02pct of the total number of the valid votes and 91 seats; UDMR, 7.20pct, 12 seats; PNL, 7.06pct, 10 seats; PNTCD, 2.50pct, 1 seat; Ecologist Movement of Romania (MER), 2.45pct, 1 seat; AUR. - National Union Party of Romanians of Transylvania and the Republican Party, 2.15pct, 2 seats; Romanian Ecologist Party (PER), 1.38pct, 1 seat; 1 seat was occupied by an independent (Antonie Iorgovan).

In the Deputies Assembly, FSN ranked first with 66.31pct of the valid votes and 263 seats, UDMR, 7.23pct, 29 seats, PNL, 6.41pct, 29 seats. The results obtained by other political parties and formations: MER - 2.62pct, 12 seats, PNTCD - 2.56pct, 12 seats, AUR - the National Union Party of Romanians of Transylvania and the Republican Party - 2.12pct, 9 seats, PDAR - 1.83pct, 9 seats, PER - 1.69pct, 8 seats, the Romanian Social Democracy Party - 1.05pct, 5 seats, the Romanian Social Democratic Party - 0.53pct, 2 seats, the Centre Democratic Group - 0.48pct, 2 seats, the Labour Democratic Party - 0.38pct, 1 seat, the Party of Free Change - 0.34pct, 1 seat; the National Reconstruction Party of Romania - 0.32pct, 1 seat, Free Democratic Youth Party of Romania - 0.32pct, 1 seat, 'Bratianu' Liberal Union - 0.27pct, 1 seat.

Along these, one seat each went to some organisations of the national minorities, others than Hungarian: the Lippovans Community of Romania, the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, the Armenians Union of Romania, the Bulgarian Union of Banat - Cultural Bulgarian Association of Bucharest, the Serbians Democratic Union of Romania, the Slovakians and Czechs Democratic Union of Romania, the Muslim Turkish Democratic Union, the Greek Union of Romania, the Roma Democratic Union of Romania, the 'Dom Polski' Poles Union of Romania, the Ukrainians Union of Romania.

Out of the total number of voters, which is 17,200,722, according to voter lists, on 20 May 1990 as many as 14,825,764 have cast their vote for the Senate and 14,825,017 for the Deputies Assembly.

The 20 May 1990 election moment unquestionably has a historic importance, as it has opened way to creating the entire structure of the rule of law bodies. AGERPRES (Documentary - authors: Irina Andreea Cristea, Ionela Gavril; editors; Photo Archive: Elena Balan, Mihaela Tufega; editor: Anca Pandea; EN - author: Maria Voican, editor: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu)

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