The Leadership Factor in the Russian Presidential Election of 1996
There are good reasons to suppose that electoral politics will be more leadership driven in a democratizing or semi–democratic nation than in older democratic polities possessing entrenched party systems and coherent issue agendas. The Russian Federation’s watershed election of June–July 1996, in which its founding president, Boris Yeltsin, staged a stirring comeback to defeat the neo–Communist opposition and earn a second term in office, offers an opportunity to put this proposition to the test. The chapter demonstrates that the perceptions of the personal characteristics of the presidential candidates exerted substantial effects on the choices of the Russian electorate in 1996. Thorough examination discloses that these, and the underlying dynamic of transitional politics, were highly complex. The different sections of the chapter are: The New Russia and the 1996 Election; Sizing up the Candidates; Leadership Evaluations and the Vote – taking third variables into account, modelling the phenomenon, estimating leadership effects, differences across candidates and voters; and Conclusion.
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