STUDY: Between Theory and Practice: Possible outcomes of the Parliamentary Elections in Moldova under the mixed electoral system

3 December 2018

The equitable distribution of power hand-in-hand with free and fair elections represents the fundamental essence of the rule of law. Credible elections, as a means of power distribution, are of crucial importance in a democracy. Elections are the instrument that creates the very link between government and its citizens. For this reason, the choice of an electoral system is one of the most significant institutional decision for any country. Understanding how electoral systems shape societies and people’s choices, as well as the political system more broadly, is one of the primary fields of focus in political science.

In this regard, the current Research Paper has been developed to offer a better understanding over the impact of the mixed electoral system. This document has also benefited from the debates during the IPRE Roundtable Discussions ”European Dialogues” held on 23rd November 2018. The aim of this paper is to analyze the impact of the change of the electoral system in the Republic of Moldova on the party system and electoral competition. The research question examines the extent to which the modification of the electoral system from a proportional to a mixed system will affect the electoral process and the structure of the party system in Moldova. Our primary objective is to characterize the main features of the new electoral system and their possible influence over the outcome of the next parliamentary elections in February 2019. Furthermore, we try to evaluate the leverage of the mixed electoral system over two intertwined dimensions of the electoral process: the behavior of voters and rules for translating the votes into seats.

The paper is structured in three parts. The first chapter describes types of electoral systems and their impact on the party system. The second chapter explains the context in which the mixed electoral system has been adopted in Moldova and offers an overall review of the position presented by key political parties and international partners with regard to the change of the electoral system. The third chapter analyses the factors which may influence the results of the next parliamentary election and tests its possible outcomes in the uninominal and national constituencies. A final set of conclusions are drawn to summarize the possible scenarios for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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