Map of Political Clientelism (2004-2018)

‹ back to Expert Forum  

Clientelism Map

The map and the attached reports show which governments, when and with which tools behaved more clientelistic: we have built an index of political clientelism that correlates the amounts allocated to the mayoral affiliation. The map shows all government allocations and transfers to municipalities and county councils from Reserve and Intervention funds, as well as from funds managed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP) * as follows:

  • allocations FR/FI, 2008-2017; 7.6 bln lei – these funds are generally allocated for unpredictable, urgent situations
  • allocations National Program for Local Development (PNDL) 2, 2017-2020; 30 bln lei –  a program that allocates funds through rather small and medium investments from localities and county councils that should help the beneficiaries develop infrastructure such as roads, schools, water supply and sewerage etc. It represents the biggest program managed by MDRAP (19 bln – 1st phase and 30 bln RON -2nd phase)
  • Transfers MDRAP or equivalent (2005-2017)*, 23,9 bln lei
  • Transfers FI/FR (2004-2012), 5.4 bln lei

These amounts accounted in 2008 for about 70% of local investment, that is, the gross; the rest are EU funds (read here an analysis of allocations and procurement from EU funds). Unlike the latter, however, where clearer selection rules exist and an external verifier (the EU Commission), these instruments are national and discretionary, the amounts being allocated by the government or the ministries as annexes to the budget. In other words, it is the best ground for measuring pure political clientelism.

Conclusions related to allocation for the local government

• The allocation rules for investment and emergency funds (the National Program for Local Development – PNDL, the Reserve Fund -FR  and the Intervention Fund – FI) are vague and are not stable over time
• FR / FI allocations are made through numerous exceptions to the law, making the rules of the game unpredictable
• There are significant differences between FR / FI allocations and payments and the promise to allocate funds represents a strong incentive for mayors during electoral periods; on the other side, funds distributed for emergencies are not contracted even after 2 years
• There is no vision for investments on long terms and they are planned ad-hoc, without predictability; money with short-term horizons and affected by allocation uncertainty are used poorly, with low efficiency
• Political changes at the center may affect allocations and payments to the local government; projects risk losing the funding
• There are significant difficulties in identifying outcomes and tracking the evolution of projects funded through PNDL and emergency funds; procedures for PNDL 2 (2017-2020) have not become more transparent
• Procurement to political connected and corrupt companies destroy fair competition, lower quality and raise prices for works

Clientelism in figures

In 2007, a mayor affiliated to the parties in power had three times more chances to receive government money than one in the opposition, while in 2012-2016 the report would reached 2x.

Read here the 2 reports that show how money was allocated and who received it (RO):

Besides the issues with the allocation procedure, EFOR has found that public procurement procedures from these funds are made by the beneficiaries (the municipalities and the county councils) without transparency, and in each of the 10 counties studied, a group of 4-5 firms gets 50-60% of the funds . And in the case of the Reserve Fund, there are situations of local or regional monopoly, especially when a large part of the procurement take place through direct purchases or negotiation without publication.

See also reports analyzing public procurement for PNDL

2014a represents the period January-September 2014, while 2014b October-December 2014; in September 2014, GEO 55/2014 was issued to allow the migration of 552 mayors and other local elected representatives. See the interactive map of migration here.

See explanations about the clientelism phenomenon, in short, in a film by Sorin Ionita

If you want to support us to continue this research donate here.

How to use the map

Select the data categories you want from the right menu
The color legend can be found to the left side of the map. On the map you will not find the USL, but only the party from which the mayor came from (PSD, PNL, PC), according to data at the time of the dissolution of the union
The size of the points shows how much money a municipality or a county / county council has received. The bigger the point, the bigger the amount received. The size is related to both the sums and the number of inhabitants in the respective localities, according to the demographic data at the National Institute of Statistics for each year.
Moving the cursor over a location will show the amount received by that administration, broken down by sources. The displayed party is the one in which the mayor or president of county council belonged to in that specific year

For feedback and error reporting, please write to

* Transfers for MDRAP include PNDL, thermal rehabilitation, Heating Program 2006-2020, arrears payments, touristic infrastructure, payments for the cold season June 2012- Jan. 2016 (from the Reserve Fund), sums for the county and communal roads (2005-2011), the Environmental Fund (water-sewerage, green spaces, 2008-2011), sums for schools (2007-2010), Government Decision no. 577/1997 (roads, water in rural areas, 2004-2012) , Government Ordinance 7/2006 (bridges, water-sewerage, sports fields in rural areas, 2007-2012). We have not included allocations to the central administration from the Reserve / Intervention Fund (for ministers, for example) – exceptions are the allocations where the final beneficiary in the local government was identified in the decision – the transfers for the purchase of minibuses, the funds for the churches (through the Secretariat for Cults) /


Data source: MDRAP,, webpages of the electoral bureaux, FOIA requests, mass media, Statistics Institute

Timeline for governments 2007-2018



Browse here for the previous versions of the map:  2004-2011 & 2012-2016.

The map is developed within several projects: Combating Clientelism in Local Investments and Financial Transfers (CC-LIFT) supported by Open Society Foundations, Consolidating the Clean Justice Initiative Coalition financed by EEA Grants 2009 – 2014, Consolidating the Clean Justice Initiative Coalition to strengthen the rule of law - monitoring and early warning tools, supported by Open Society Institute (OSI).

For official information on EEA and Norwegian please visit The content of this material does not represent the official position of EEA Grants 2009 – 2014.

© Expert Forum (EFOR) 2011 - 2018