• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Institutionalization versus personalization: electoral effects of the mixed-member electoral system in Russia

European Politics and Society. 2018. Vol. 19. No. 5. P. 595-622.

The study of mixed electoral systems has gained in popularity due to frequent experiments with electoral systems in post-communist countries. Russia represents an interesting lab for this research, as it is a country that had switched to the proportional system in the 2007 parliamentary elections, and then moved back to mixed-member system in 2016 that also has seen its dominant party system strengthen. This research shows a gradual decline in competition in electoral districts, which is interrelated with the institutionalization of the party system, and which peaked after the creation of a dominant party and the disappearance of independent candidates. A comparative analysis of elections on the basis of votes received by party lists and voting in single-mandate districts suggests there is a high level of interrelation between two simultaneous voting processes, confirming the well-known thesis of “contamination” in the mixed system. At the same time, a comparison of the diverse parties allows us to suggest that the level of that interrelation, and the vote ratio, are dependent on the characteristics of the party concerned. The research showed that, in a dominant party system, electoral competition in districts delivers higher results than in voting by party lists, and the voters demonstrate a strategic approach to supporting parties rather than voting for particular candidates in particular districts. This leads to a lower level of electoral support for candidates from large parties in comparison to the vote received by the parties themselves.