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Between 1861 and 1865, the Transylvanian Diet was convened two times: 1863–1864, respectively 1865.
Following the elections of the year 1863, there were 125 elected deputies and 40 “royalists” (nominated directly by the monarch). In practice, however, most of the Hungarian deputies did not validate their mandates, which forced elections in the respective constituencies to be reorganized time and again during the following two years. The Diet assembled in two sessions, in 1863 and 1864 and also sent delegates to the Imperial Council: 24 in 1863 and 16 in 1864.
In the autumn of 1865, new elections were held, under a different franchise. The new Diet consisted officially of 103 elected deputies and 191 “royalists”. However, part of its members (this time Romanians) did not validate their mandates or take part in the assembly, and the final resolutions were signed or rejected only by 221 deputies. This was the last Diet of Transylvania, which voted the union with Hungary, and from 1866 onward deputies from the former province joined the ranks of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest.
In its post-revolutionary form the Hungarian Parliament was created pursuant to the October Diploma (1860), only to be dissolved the following year. The Parliament consisted of two chambers: the Upper House for hereditary members (which underwent a thorough reformation in 1885) and the Lower Chamber for elected deputies. Elections were held regularly in Hungary starting from 1865, and the deputies from Transylvania joined the Parliament starting with 1866. General elections took place every three years until 1887 and every five years between 1887 and 1910 (also in 1906), totalling 14 electoral terms between 1865 and 1918. Due to the outbreak of the war, the Parliament of 1910 continued its mandate until 1918.
The Hungarian House of Deputies consisted of 413 seats, to which another 29, later 40, Croatian representatives were to be added. The former province of Transylvania was represented by 75 seats between 1866 and 1878, and by 74 between 1878 and 1918, but there were notable discrepancies between constituencies, in terms of geographical coverage, number and structure of the population and number of voters.
The electoral law in Hungary underwent a series of changes between 1861 and 1918, but their effects were limited and they had very little influence on the structure of the House of Deputies. Voting was conditioned mainly by census, education and nobility (the latter only for those who had enjoyed this right in 1848 and in the 1860s, so they would not be deprived of an already exercised ‘old right’). The franchise was regulated by law V of 1848 for Hungary and by law II of 1848 for Transylvania and differences between the two regions were perpetuated until the dissolution of the monarchy. New electoral laws (XXXIII of 1874, XV of 1899, XIV of 1913, XVII of 1918) either did very little to change the system, or could not be implemented due to the war. In practice, it was considerably harder to gain the right to vote in Transylvania, and the percentage of voters in the former province was almost half of that in Hungary proper.
It was created on 1 December 1918, during the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia, its 250 members being partly elected during the respective Assembly (ca. 200), partly nominated later (ca. 50). In theory it was a legislative body, but most of its prerogatives have been quickly taken over by the Ruling Council (the executive provincial body). It assembled twice, in December 1918 and July-August 1919. Unlike the Great National Assembly, whose official deputies have been elected following the parliamentary franchise of 1910 and as representatives of the Romanian civil society of the time, the Great Romanian National Council was not actually elected following the provisions of any franchise and it was a rather ad-hoc creation of the Great National Assembly. This, along with its very limited activity determined us to exclude it, as an institution, from the current research. Even so, many a member of the Great Romanian National Council pursued parliamentary careers after 1918, so a significant part of them will actually make the object of our research as deputies in the Parliament of Romania between 1919 and 1928.
The Romanian Parliament was established, in its modern form, in the 1860s, through successive adaptations of its structure, supported by modifications of the franchise. In 1919 it was bicameral, with members of both the Upper House (the Senate) and the Lower House (the Chamber of Deputies) being elected through universal male franchise, the difference residing in the voters’ and candidate’s age, respectively in the geographical coverage of the constituencies (which differed for the two chambers). The general election of the year 1919 took place following different franchises in the Old Kingdom of Romania and Bessarabia (Law 3102/14 November 1918), Bukovina (Law 3620/24 August 1919) and Transylvania (Law 3621/24 August 1919). Further changes have been made through the Constitution of 1923 and Law 1424/27 March 1926, resulting in a very complicated system of choosing party lists, and not individual candidates, and in the implementation of the so called „electoral bonus” for the leading party, which not only ensured a strong parliamentary majority for any party gathering at least 40% of the votes, but also pushed out of the Parliament smaller parties.
Between 1919 and 1928 in Romania took place six general parliamentary elections, in the years 1919, 1920, 1922, 1926, 1927, 1928. Such political instability, complemented by a high number of by-elections, resulted in numerous persons, sometimes almost anonymous from a historical perspective, occupying a parliamentary seat. Consequently, our research sample for the years 1919-1928 does not cover the totality of members of parliament elected in Transylvania, focusing instead on selected counties, whose ethnical and denominational composition, together with geographical and economical characteristics are representative for the main provincial trends of the time. It should also be underlined that, unlike in the case of Bohemia, in Transylvania, the level of continuity between the pre- and post-1918 elected representatives is very low, due to the severe underrepresentation of the Romanians in the pre-1918 Hungarian Parliament, respectively of the Hungarians in the post-1918 Romanian Parliament. This resulted in a wide gap dividing the third generational cohort in pre- and post-1918 deputies.