Less than 42% of Romanians showed up on December 9 to elect a record number of legislators, due to an electoral legislation which attributed extra-seats to individual candidates of nationally representative parties who lost elections in their individual constituencies. The left-right coalition (Social Liberal) won a record 60% of the vote due to its drawing on two different constituencies, the urban active one of the liberals and the rural one, who traditionally voted with Social Democrats. The main gain of this impressive majority is that the government will no longer need to buy support through pork barrel allocations, which has been the rule since 2007, when Mr. Basescu quarreled with the Liberals and the center-right coalition broke off. Such allocations were the rule not only to buy support of a middle layer of MPs, those migrating from minority to majority, but also towards MPs from the same party with the government. At least a third of winning candidates have benefited in one form or another (mostly allocations of public contracts) from public resources other than their own salaries. The question remains if President Basescu will nominate the victor, current Prime Minister Victor Ponta, to form a new government. The landslide victory deprived Mr. Basescu of many of his other options, so while he is expected to bargain over individual members of the government, he might have failed already to convince any politician within the winning alliance to betray Mr. Ponta and has no choice in the end than to nominate again his enemy to form a government.
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