Russian duma elections in the territorial districts : explaining patterns of proliferation of independent candidates, 1993-1999
Russian political parties remained weak and under-institutionalised in the 1990s, with profound implications for the viability of the country's democratic project. This research is concerned with explaining one glaring sign of party under-development - the success of independent candidates in federal parliamentary elections. Its originality rests on focusing on the uneven geographic concentration of independents' electoral success, given that existing accounts have confined themselves to the national, average picture. A second point of originality is the choice of multilevel modelling as the tool of quantitative analysis, applied here for the first time in post-communist electoral studies. The analysis relies on a macro-political explanatory framework where single member electoral districts provide the units of analysis, and where the dependent variable is the district vote share received by independent candidates. Explanatory factors apply at the level of both districts and federal units (regions). They include conflict in centre-regional relations, geographic conditions, candidates' personal resources and the use of administrative resources by regional governors. The main finding confirms the hypothesis that the independents enjoyed a competitive advantage over parties in articulating the new territorial cleavages that emerged, after the collapse of the Soviet-system, as a consequence of state-building and federalisation processes.