№ 2, 2015
The Western scholarship devoted to unraveling causes of party fragmentation mainly focuses on institutional and sociological factors. The parameters of electoral systems, the existing social cleavages or their combined effect are expected to influence the number of parties. These explanations, however, do not suffice to comprehend causes of party fragmentation in the Russian regions. The research study prepared by M.Turchenko shows that the effective number of electoral parties in the regional elections of 2003–2013 is largely determined by the factors related to the activity of the federal center and senior officials at the subnational level. The author concludes that in spite of the presence of the favorable conditions for the development of regional party systems in the first half of the 2000s, the executive branch that prevented the emergence of parties that were capable of competing with the “United Russia” played a decisive role in the formation of the regional party systems.
№ 2, 2014
This article analyzes reasons why the ruling circles in Russia changed regional electoral legislation reducing the minimum proportion of party-list deputies in regional legislatures to 25% of the total number of deputies. Having explored the effect of different electoral formulas on the performance of the “party of power”, M.Turchenko demonstrates that predominantly majoritarian electoral system benefits this party to a far greater extent than either a mixed system with the ratio of majoritarian and proportional components 1 to 1 or purely proportional. According to his conclusion, under the conditions of a growing number of party structures and constantly decreasing rating of the “United Russia”, the extension of the majoritarian component of the electoral system was quite a rational strategy aimed at preserving the status quo.
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