Authors: Daniel Buti (SNSPA), Alexandru Radu (SNSPA)

Knowledge and understanding of electoral mechanisms, principles and rules for transforming votes into seats, and how electoral systems and voting methods influence the shape and functioning of the political system contribute to trust in institutions and democracy and provide premises for public participation of citizens.

This is the premise of the paper that was presented at the 7th ACADEMOS International Conference (Bucharest, October 7-10, 2020).

The paper is a comparative analysis of the electoral practices of 11 post-communist states, geographically located in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which were selected according to the criterion of the EU membership. These are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

The authors focused on the dynamics of the electoral processes in these states, in order to highlight the elements of convergence and divergence. Basically, they intend to question the existence of a model of electoral practice in the CEE.

They classified the electoral systems of the 11 states and identified the electoral formulas (the particular methods of transforming votes into mandates) in order to unleash the dominant typologies and trends. They also analyzed the practical action of electoral systems using three indicators: Wasted Votes (unrepresented political votes), Electoral Premium (the bonus awarded to the winning party) and the Gallagher Index.

The analysis covers three decades of electoral practice, from the first multi-party parliamentary ballot in each country to the most recent (until the date the research was carried out).

The authors find that the predominantly proportional electoral practice in the region does not offer a high degree of convergence. However, they distinguish a pattern in the case of countries using PR systems: the electoral practice is based on MMDs with preferential voting formulas and divisor methods (in particular D’Hondt).