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SPP 445

Author: Richard Rose and William Mishler
Description: An accountable democracy requires an institutionalized party system. This article tests four hypotheses about causes of institutionalization: stability in election law, persisting commitments to parties by elites and by voters, and, since institutionalization is a process, the effects of learning by party elites and voters after the founding election. It decomposes volatility into separate supply and demand elements. The data used comes from nine nationwide elections in Russia since 1993 and national surveys of the 2007-8 round of parliamentary and presidential elections. It finds that the primary sources of volatility are in the supply of election laws and parties by the political elite that create a "floating party system". When parties no longer abruptly appear or disappear from the ballot, voters are forced to float. Logit analysis of survey data shows that the high level of support for United Russia, President Putin's new and dominant party, is based on transitory rather than durable influences. The importance of supply-side determinants of volatility has created a "floating" party system and a delegative democracy.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland