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Mixed-Member Electoral SystemsThe Best of Both Worlds?$
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Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199257683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019925768X.001.0001

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The Consequences of Russia's Mixed‐Member Electoral System

The Consequences of Russia's Mixed‐Member Electoral System

Chapter:
(p.494) 22 The Consequences of Russia's Mixed‐Member Electoral System
Source:
Mixed-Member Electoral Systems
Author(s):

Robert G. Moser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019925768X.003.0023

The Russian mixed‐member majoritarian (MMM) system introduced by executive decree in 1993 and passed into law in 1995 did not produce the outcomes expected by its designers, nor have electoral system effects in Russia followed expectations in the electoral systems literature. Russia has been rather exceptional in the degree of fractionalization allowed under its MMM system, and there has been a great disparity in electoral support for parties in the list and nominal tiers of the system, and a proliferation of independent candidates with no partisan affiliation in the single‐seat districts (SSD). These unexpected outcomes might lead one to consider the MMM system to be a failure, but this chapter argues that the intraparty effects of the system, namely, the incentives promoting the formation of national parties with strong grassroots organization, make the current MMM system ideal for Russia. The purpose of the chapter is to lay out the effects of Russia's MMM system and offer some explanations for its unexpected outcomes. There are five sections: the first provides a brief description of the system; the second looks at the interparty dimension; the third expands on the interparty dimension by describing the emerging party system in Russia, examining the effects of the MMM system on the number of electoral parties, and looking at the impact the MMM system has had on the success of particular parties; the fourth section examines the intraparty dimension, and shows how the proportional representation party‐list tier has promoted the formation of parties as the central mechanism for nomination and election to public office while SSD elections in the nominal tier have encouraged party‐building at the local level; the final section offers some conclusions and implications of the Russian case for the study of electoral systems.

Keywords:   electoral reform, electoral systems, interparty dimension, intraparty dimension, list tier, mixed‐member electoral systems, mixed‐member majoritarian systems, nominal tier, number of electoral parties, party system, political parties, proportional representation, Russia, single‐seat districts

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