Growing Pains: Russian Democracy and the Election of 1993

By Timothy J. Colton; Jerry F. Hough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
Institutional Rules and Party Formation

Jerry F. Hough

ONE OF THE most active subfields in political science in recent years has been the study of the relationship of electoral rules and party system. Building on Maurice Duverger's 1954 Political Parties, a number of scholars have attempted to refine his analysis by examining an ever-widening number of cases. They have used highly sophisticated statistical methods to try to define the relationship more definitively. 1 The deputies' working group that played the crucial role in drafting the electoral law in Russia was made up of a number of academics who were quite familiar with this literature.

Originally the Supreme Soviet Committee for the Work of Soviets drafted an electoral law that provided for the election of all deputies in single-member districts without a runoff (the so-called Balala draft), but a deputies' working group within the Constitutional Commission produced a rival draft that became the base of the actual electoral law. The members of this group, headed by Viktor Sheinis and including other academics, were convinced that strong parties were vital for a well-functioning democracy in Russia. 2

The Sheinis group favored for the State Duma a variant of the German electoral law. Half the deputies of the Duma would be chosen by party list through proportional representation of parties that received more than 3 percent of the vote and with half chosen in single-member districts without a runoff. The drafters knew that the party-list election would by definition force the formation of parties, and they knew that the 3 percent rule and the

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