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Measuring Voting Stability at Non-Democratic Elections. Evidence from the Russian Parliamentary Elections

P. 131-140.
What determines strength and stability of party systems? This issue has been widely examined in democracies with long running party systems, since old democracies are considered to have the characteristics which contribute to the stability of parties and party systems. Russian conditions for party competition differ from democratic countries. Moderated elections in Russia limit competition so that only a definite and stable number of parties successfully remain in the game. Limited competition in Russia might have promoted voters to make their choice from the stable set of parties – the ones with reputation, recognition and core support achieved by continuously existence. The more or less constant set of election participants with well-recognized blueprints might serve the stability of voter choice. In this paper, I argue that with no or low opportunity for new parties to enter the electoral market, voters might divide their preferences between those who remain stable in the list of participants. Stable support of the continuous parties might serve the increase of the party system stability. To examine this assumption, I work out a voting stability measurement approach and investigate whether limited competition in Russia contributes to voter loyalty to the continuous parties. The evidence is taken from the Russian parliamentary elections from 2003 to 2011.