An accountable democracy requires institutionalized parties. A supply—demand model hypothesizes that institutionalization is a function of four sets of influences: stability in election law, persisting commitments to parties by political elites and by voters, and learning by elites and by voters. The hypotheses are tested with aggregate data from nine nationwide elections in Russia since 1993, in which institutionalization and its complement, volatility, are decomposed. Survey data from the 2007—8 round of Russian elections is then used to test the extent of institutionalization through party identification. Logit analysis shows that the high level of support for President Putin’s new party, United Russia, is based on temporary rather than durable influences. The political elite’s volatile supply of parties has created a ‘floating’ party system and a delegative democracy with implications for new democracies on other continents.
- European Union
- party system