Elections and Democratization in Ukraine

Elections and Democratization in Ukraine

Elections and Democratization in Ukraine

Elections and Democratization in Ukraine

Synopsis

This work analyses the role of competitive elections in the Ukraine's crucial democratic transition period of 1989 to 1998. The author focuses on how Ukrainian voters make voting choices and which electoral cleavages are the most important.

Excerpt

This book is about the formation of political identity in Ukraine, about the ways in which elite groups organized during the late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods and how different sectors of the citizenry have responded to their efforts to mobilize support. It charts the development of political structure in a nascent state, tracing the social correlates of Ukrainian voting patterns between 1989 and 1998 — from the time of the liberalization of the Soviet electoral system through to independent Ukraine's second parliamentary elections. The series of elections and referendums during this period held a mirror to the Ukrainian people, offering them a view of their collective political proclivities and contributing to the learning process through which popular opinion was transformed into public opinion. The successive ballots also provided elite actors with insights into the true shape of popular sentiment and taught them valuable lessons in strategy. After ten years of electoral liberalization we can begin to take stock of the long-term effects of holding competitive elections in Ukraine. How have they influenced democratization? How have they worked to structure society? It is these issues, among others, that this study will address.

The decade of transition was of crucial importance for the definition of the parameters of the Ukrainian state, for the negotiation of Ukrainian national identity, and for the construction of democratic institutions. Political structuration is one of the key features of successful democratization. In order for a political system to consolidate as a stable democracy, it must at a minimum have a structured electorate with clear links to sectors of the elite. Though this is not a sufficient condition for consolidation, it is necessary to prevent wild swings of support from one election to the next and sudden lurches of opinion in favour of demagogues. A second necessary condition of democratic . . .

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