Romania reformed the law governing its parliamentary elections between 2004 and 2008, shifting from a complex proportional representation system based on county-level party lists to a complex uninominal system in which each district for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate elects one representative. The change in law emerged after more than a year of heated political controversies, including partisan and personal animosity between President Basescu and Prime Minister Tariceanu, a failed attempt at impeachment, a deadlocked special electoral commission, a failed popular referendum, an unfavorable constitutional court ruling, and a confusing final accord brokered under deadline. Qualitative comparison of the 2004 and 2008 laws reveals that the heralded reform merely added an additional layer of calculation to the previous electoral system. Quantitative analysis using counterfactual estimation reveals that the new law had absolutely zero effect on the partisan outcome. In the conclusion, we explore the implications of these findings for Romanian politics and the politics of electoral reform more generally.

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