Popular, competitive elections are a component of the democratic process, but they alone do not constitute a democracy. The first somewhat competitive election in the Soviet Union in 1989 marked the beginning of a trend toward political liberalization & democracy. Since then the Russians have voted for their chosen candidates many times, although only a small percentage of the adult population participates. The elections, on all levels, have been held as prescribed by law, though the first founding election for a new political system under a new constitution did not take place until December 1993. The campaigns & outcomes of the Gorbachev, Yeltsin, & (the first) Putin elections, & the corresponding parliamentary elections, are described. Under Putin, the elections still perform a quasi-democratic function, but they are now controlled by state institutions that have the ability to falsify the outcomes in favor of Putin-supported incumbents. J. Stanton
This article examines the influences on the 2008 presidential election that led to the election of Barack Obama. There were many reasons why observers expected 2008 to be a strong year for the Democrats. The poor retrospective evaluations of the Bush presidency were thought to be too much of a burden for any Republican presidential candidate to bear successfully. On the other hand, open seat elections have been historically close, in part because successor candidates receive neither the full credit nor the full blame of incumbents. Moreover, in a period of partisan parity and ideological polarization, tight contests are to be expected. Add to these factors the fact that neither party’s nominee faced an easy time winning his party’s nomination and the fact that McCain was unusually moderate for a Republican presidential candidate and Obama was a northern liberal as well as the first African-American presidential candidate of a major party and there was every reason to suspect a closely decided election. That was the way that the election was shaping up in the polls until the Wall Street meltdown hit in mid-September. It was the “game changer ” that tipped the election to Obama.
Deals with UN protectorate in Kosovo; UNMIK (UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo) peacekeeping forces, relations with Yugoslavia/Serbia, and ethnic politics, with emphasis on role of elections.