Varieties of gerrymandering and malapportionment can appear not only in electoral systems where all legislative seats are allocated to plurality winners in single-member districts but also in proportional Single-Member District (SMD)–based electoral systems and in settings where multi-partisan committees draw the district boundaries. This article investigates such a case, in which the main parliamentary parties collaborated in order to minimize the uncertainty regarding intra-party allocation of seats. The 2008 electoral reform in Romania created such opportunities, and both the SMD maps and the electoral results at the parliamentary election held in the same year indicate that the parties collaborated to design a number of safe seats for each of them. We draw on a novel data set that measures the degree to which the newly created SMDs reflect natural or artificial strongholds of concentrated partisan support in otherwise unfavorable political territories, and also assess the malapportionment of these districts. All three types of mechanisms were frequently used, and our logistic regression analyses indicate that nomination from the “right” type of SMD was the main factor deciding which of each party’s candidates got elected. The statistical analyses are complemented by a qualitative investigation of the political composition and design of 9 SMDs.
- Electoral system
- Parliamentary elections