This innovative comparative study stresses the ways in which the development of political parties had negative effects on the quality of democracy, the nature of political representation, and political accountability in the early stages of post-communist politics. Though most acute in the presidential systems of Russia and the Ukraine, new elites everywhere struggled to gain the confidence of their electorates. Frances Millard shows how the parties' failure to develop social roots created conditions for persistent electoral volatility which stimulated political entrepreneurs to leave their parties or establish new ones. Although voters rapidly learned from their experience with particular electoral systems, party fluidity undermined voters' capacity to engage in strategic voting. Voters' choices were often negative, taking advantage of the opportunity to dismiss incumbents, and frequently choosing new, untested elites in their search for representation. The social composition of parliaments narrowed, with a reduction in the numbers of both workers and women. Only the largest of the ethnic minorities demonstrated the capacity for political influence.

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