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Frank C. Thames, "Discipline and Party Institutionalization in Post-Soviet Legislatures," Party Politics, 13 (July 2007), 456-477.

First paragraph:
The literature on party system development has been growing for a number of years. Centered on the experiences of systems in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, many of these studies attempt to measure the strength or institutionalization of the party system.1 Weakly institutionalized party systems are thought to undermine citizen participation, weaken electoral accountability, and increase uncertainty for both voters and elites (Birch, 2001; Mainwaring, 1999; Mainwaring and Scully, 1995). Thus, weak party system institutionalization creates obstacles for democratic consolidation, preventing new democracies from capitalizing on successful democratic transitions.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Indicators of party system institutionalization in Russia and Ukraine
Table 2. Independent single-member district candidates
Table 3. Party institutionalization and parliamentary parties in the Duma
Table 4. Party institutionalization and parliamentary parties in the Rada
Table 5. Time-series regression results on weighted unity of limited sample
Table 6. Time-series regression results on weighted unity of expanded sample
Appendix 1. Russian Parliamentary Parties
Appendix 2. Ukrainian Parliamentary Parties

Last Paragraph:
Finally, this study pushes the party system institutionalization literature further by opening up a new arena within which to understand its effects, namely legislative politics. The literature on legislative behavior highlights the connection between parties as legislative organizations and parties as electoral organizations. Those factors that affect a party's ability to provide electoral resources should impact on the party's ability to function as a legislative organization, as shown here. Thus, future research on party system institutionalization should take into account its many potential legislative effects.

last updated June 2007