Daniel Cain, Citoyenneté, ethnicité et droits politiques dans la Grande Roumanie : le cas de Dobroudja (1919)

Daniel Cain - Institute for South-East European Studies, Bucharest
TOME LX 2022
pp. 245-265
Online publication date: 
Dobruja; citizenship; elections; WWI; Romania; Bulgaria

The territorial changes that occurred at the end of 1918 called for a change in the restrictive legislation concerning the granting of Romanian citizenship. It was a binding condition for the Paris Peace Conference to recognize the new borders of Romania. Practically, the right to vote was also granted to those Romanians who did not legally benefit from Romanian citizenship. These measures were accompanied by the extension of the right to vote by renouncing census suffrage. The Bucharest authorities’ mission was not easy at all: they had to instill the desire to live together in the citizens of Greater Romania. The 1919 parliamentary elections represented first test. They were held in a period when the new borders of the Romanian state were still subject to negotiations in Paris. Updating the electoral lists and implementing the new election system takes time. Postponed several times, the elections were finally held in early November both in the Old Romanian Kingdom and in the provinces that were de facto under Romanian administration. It is for the first time that Romanians voted according to the norms of universal suffrage. Dobruja is a good example of this democratic practice in a society traumatized by war. The inhabitants of Northern Dobruja were granted the right to vote at the 1912 elections, after more than three decades they had been under Romanian administration (a period when they were deprived of the right to elect their representatives in the Bucharest parliament). Had the Great War not broken out, the inhabitants of Southern Dobruja would have had the same fate. In the autumn of 1919, the Romanian authorities decided, at least in theory, to ignore the ethnic composition of this territory (obtained in 1913) and to trust all its inhabitants.

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