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Political Goals, Institutional Context, and the Choice of an Electoral System: The Russian Parliamentary Election Law

Thomas F. Remington and Steven S. Smith
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Nov., 1996), pp. 1253-1279
DOI: 10.2307/2111750
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111750
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Goals, Institutional Context, and the Choice of an Electoral System: The Russian Parliamentary Election Law
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Abstract

Alternative strategic models of party preferences for electoral institutions are identified. One model provides that legislators and parties define preferences for electoral systems over policy outcomes; an alternative provides that legislators and parties define preferences for electoral systems over electoral outcomes. Based on the results of the 1993 Russian parliamentary elections, members of the Russian State Duma are expected to have favored alternative proposals for the 1995 electoral system according to their anticipated implications for policy outcomes. The effects of alternative electoral laws are evaluated using the outcome of the 1993 elections. That evaluation yields predictions of party positions on the 1995 electoral law, which are tested against data on the floor behavior of the party factions in the Russian parliament in 1994 and 1995 as the new election law was debated. A policy-based model of party preferences is found to be inadequate. Electoral and other considerations, as well as uncertainty and institutional context, influence parties' choices of new electoral institutions.

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