Paul D'Anieri, Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, and Institutional Design, 2007.
Institutions and Democracy
Questioning the Connections
The collapse of communism, first in Eastern Europe in 1989 and then in the Soviet Union in 1991, instigated the need to create hew political systems in twenty-eight states. Every one of these states declared the intention of building liberal democracy. This "third wave" of democratization1 provided both an opportunity and a challenge to scholars of democratization and political institutions. The challenge was to provide advice on how these new states might succeed in their democratic aspirations. The opportunity was that this new group of democratizing states, adopting a variety of institutional arrangements in a variety of conditions, would considerably increase the empirical base of knowledge on democratic institutions and democratization.
This book is partly concerned with the question of what sort of institutional arrangements might lead to more genuine liberal democracy in Ukraine. However, it is also skeptical of this line of inquiry, because in Ukraine, much of what is obviously important happens outside of formal institutions and in contradiction of the formal rules. Therefore, this chapter reviews the considerable progress made by the literature on institutions, while pointing out important questions that are left unanswered.
Prior to addressing questions of institutional design, we need to clarify what we mean by "democratization." The word "democracy" is used so broadly that its meaning is sometimes unclear. Defining democracy has become more difficult, as a number of postcommunist regimes have arrived at systems that are neither fully democratic nor fully authoritarian. By labeling all the postcommunist regimes "in transition to democracy," observers may have assumed more about the processes under way in those states than is warranted. Therefore, the chapter begins by discussing the nature of democracy and democratization.
The chapter concludes with a discussion of what institutional approaches do not do. Most important, formal institutional approaches—those that deduce behavior from institutional constraints and actors' interests—are much better at specifying the results of a particular set of institutions than they are at explaining why and how that set of institutions emerged. Historical institutional approaches—which explain the development of institutions in terms of the process by which they developed—are much more appropriate for this task. Therefore, we use historical institutional approaches in a way that complements rational choice approaches, even though these approaches are sometimes seen as contradictory.2
A focus on historical process is essential in understanding how institutions have evolved in post-Soviet states. Moreover, formal institutional explanations are premised on the assumption that institutions constrain behavior. To some extent, this is a useful approach. In many environments, however, actors are not tightly constrained by the rules. To the extent that this is true, formal institutional approaches will not help us to explain outcomes. We need to understand what factors determine why institutions constrain behavior more in some situations than others. That has been the central question in post-Soviet Ukraine.
Qualifying the Notions of Democracy and Democratization
As the "third wave" of democratization proceeded in the 1990s, students of democracy and democratization became increasingly troubled by the growing number of regimes—including Ukraine—which possessed some of the crucial attributes of democratic rule, such as regularly held elections, but seemed undemocratic in important ways. In addition to problems with freedom of the press, rule of law, and corruption, the most basic democratic shortcoming seemed to be the absence of serious competition for power. Philip Roeder was among the first to point this out, arguing that the post-Soviet states had developed a variety of authoritarian models of rule. Roeder classified these regimes as variants of authoritarianism, rather than as variants of democratization.3 As a result, the literature on comparative politics has developed some qualifications of the terminology of democracy, as well as several different ways of categorizing regimes that possess some but not all of the characteristics of democracy. Out of this discussion emerge three points that are central for understanding post-Soviet Ukrainian politics.
First, when Western scholars and lay people discuss "democracy," they usually mean "liberal, constitutional democracy." But while liberalism, constitutionalism, and democracy often go together in the West (Fareed Zakaria states that they go together so frequently that we imagine there is no other sort of democracy4), they are distinct phenomena and do not necessarily coincide. Thus, we need to consider what a democracy might look like if it is not liberal, or constitutional. Second, observers, scholars, and governments have tended to equate democracy with elections, in the belief that even if elections did not by themselves equal liberal democracy, they would promote all the other things that constitute liberal democracy. Finally, there has tended to be a teleological assumption that every polity that rids itself of authoritarianism is headed toward (liberal) democracy, and that liberal democracy is the natural endpoint toward which political systems inevitably evolve.
In contrast to these generalizations, more recent literature points out that much of what we value in liberal democracy comes not in "democracy" per se, but in its "liberal" nature. Without liberal characteristics, democracy can look much like the authoritarianism that preceded it, or can descend into chaos. Similarly, the holding of elections does not necessarily produce responsive government or good government. More important, elections do not by themselves force the system toward greater openness, or to become more liberal. Moreover, regimes that have some democratic characteristics are not necessarily headed inexorably toward further democratization or toward the creation of liberal democracy. Not only can these "partial democracies" (there is considerable disagreement on how to label them) revert to authoritarianism, as has long been recognized, but they can persist as partial democracies indefinitely. In other words, these intermediate forms of government are their own type, and need to be analyzed as such, rather than as a transitory phenomenon between authoritarianism and democracy. The following three sections take up these points in more detail.
Democracy Versus Liberal Democracy
The reminder that democracy and liberal democracy are not the same thing has come from numerous scholars, the most notable of whom include Guillermo O'Donnell, Fareed Zakaria, and Thomas Carothers. The central point in all of these arguments is that many states that are labeled "democratic" primarily due to the holding of regular and at least partially free elections lack many of the crucial attributes that we often associate with liberal democracy.
Robert Dahl, whose definition of democracy has perhaps been the most influential in recent decades, contends that democracy entails:
- Elected officials
- Free, fair, and frequent elections
- Freedom of expression
- Alternative sources of information
- Associational autonomy
- Inclusive citizenship5
For O'Donnell, many states commonly regarded as "democratizing" have taken one step toward forging liberal democracy by democratically electing a government. They have not, however, created two other fundamental components that characterize more meaningful democracy: institutions and representation.6 The main concern with institutions, O'Donnell argues, is whether the democratic institutions in a country are "really important decisional points in the flow of influence, power, and policy."7 By determining which agents may participate in the process (and determining how such agents are selected), by constraining the "range of feasible outcomes,"8 by inducing patterns of representation, by stabilizing the expectations of representatives and agents, and by lengthening the "time-horizons" of participants, institutions create the predictability and stability needed for political actors to make deals that they have an incentive to stick to. Institutions also create incentives to act within the bounds of the rules rather than going outside them. Without such institutions, politics descends into "the hell of a colossal prisoner's dilemma," in which power is wielded and political decisions made by "other nonformalized but strongly operative practices: clientelism, patrimonialism, and corruption."9 This characterization fits Ukraine's politics from 1995 to 2004 quite nicely.
Zakaria focuses on the illiberal conduct of many of the regimes that have been elected democratically. "It has been difficult to recognize this problem because for almost a century in the West, democracy has meant liberal democracy—a political system marked not only by free and fair elections, but also by the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property.... Democracy is flourishing; constitutional democracy is not."10 While the election of governments makes them democratic in a very narrow sense, they lack most of the traits we generally associate with democracy. Following James Madison's analysis of the U.S. Constitution, Zakaria sees democracy and constitutional liberalism as not only different but also fundamentally in tension with each other: "Constitutional liberalism is about the limitation of power, democracy about its accumulation and use."11
Zakaria faults analysts for failing to distinguish between "democracy," which means only that governments are elected, and its constitutional and liberal variants, which are much more narrowly defined and much more valued. Constitutional liberalism, he argues, is not about the process by which leaders are selected, but about the fact that the government is designed to protect the individual against coercion, and the fact that it is characterized by the rule of law.12 In sum, Zakaria asserts that to call a regime "democratic" is to say very little about it. "If a democracy does not preserve liberty and law, that it is a democracy is a small consolation."13
Carothers goes further than Zakaria or O'Donnell, asserting that we should not even be talking about these regimes in terms of democracy. His point is not that they are in no way democratic, but that to focus on their level of democracy or on their progress on an assumed path to democracy provides little help in understanding how politics actually works in these states. Referring to countries in what he calls the "gray zone," because they are neither fully democratic nor fully authoritarian, Carothers states that: "By describing countries in the gray zone as democracies, analysts are in effect trying to apply the transition paradigm to the very countries whose political evolution is calling that paradigm into question."14
Each of these three authors has developed alternative categories with which to characterize these states.15 O'Donnell calls them "delegative democracies," a term that has been profitably applied to Ukraine by Paul Kubicek.16 "Delegative democracies rest on the premise that whoever wins election to the presidency is thereby entitled to govern as he or she sees fit, constrained only by the hard facts of existing power relations and by a constitutionally limited term of office."17 The regime is democratic in the sense that it was elected more or less fairly, but it is neither liberal nor constitutional, because the constitution and other formal rules place little meaningful constraint on the president's power.
Zakaria coined the term "illiberal democracy," conveying many of the same general ideas as O'Donnell: the government can be termed democratic because of the way that it is elected, but the way that it governs does not include most of the things we associate with liberal democracy. Zakaria sees such a system as heavily majoritarian, in that whatever individual wins a presidential election, however narrowly, can rule unchecked, and can often subsequently expand presidential power further.18
Again, Carothers goes further, abandoning the word "democracy" altogether. He introduces two categories of "gray zone" regimes, "feckless pluralism" and "dominant power politics." In the former type, found most commonly in Latin America, there is a good deal of political freedom and there is alternation in power, but participation is limited largely to voting, and politics overall is perceived as uniformly corrupt. In "dominant power politics," "one political grouping—whether it is a movement, a party, an extended family, or a single leader—dominates the system in such a way that there appears to be little prospect of alternation of power in the foreseeable future."19 Ukraine under Kuchma appeared to be subject to the second pattern, that of a dominant power eliminating the chances for real competition. Ukraine under Yushchenko, many Ukrainians fear, could take on the first pattern, in which one corrupt regime replaces another.
Do Elections Make Democracy?
A second question raised in recent research is the relationship between elections and democracy. There has been a considerable tendency among scholars, governments, and international organizations to equate elections with democracy. For example, G. Bingham Powell states: "There is widespread consensus that the presence of competitive elections, more than any other feature, identifies a contemporary nation-state as a democratic political system."20 As the discussion above indicates, there is increasing recognition that while elections may mean democracy in some very limited sense, they do not constitute the kind of liberal constitutional democracy that is assumed to be the goal of reformers. Many would now go further, questioning whether elections can always be expected to lead toward more liberal, more constitutional democracy.21
Carothers asserts that "the belief in the determinative importance of elections" is one of the core assumptions of the democratization paradigm.22 "[I]t has been assumed that in attempted transitions to democracy, elections will be not just a foundation stone but a key generator over time of further democratic reforms."23 In dominant-power regimes, there tend to be "dubious but not outright fraudulent elections in which the ruling group tries to put on a good-enough electoral show to gain the approval of the international community while quietly tilting the electoral playing field far enough in its own favor to ensure victory."24 In such a system, elections no longer provide the check on elected officials that one generally expects. Because rulers can hold power by manipulating the process rather than by responding to voters' preferences, elections do not force incumbent leaders to bend to the will of the voters. By holding elections that are at least partly free and competitive, rulers create the impression that they have a democratic mandate, and hence that they rule legitimately in the name of the people. Zakaria (p. 42) states: "Illiberal democracies gain legitimacy, and thus strength, from the fact that they are reasonably democratic." Thus elections, rather than constraining rulers or making them accountable, can actually empower and legitimate them, and make them less accountable.
Zakaria focuses as well on a different problem, that of populism run amok. He points out that Alberto Fujimori in Peru experienced an increase in popularity when he disbanded the parliament. Similarly, Vladimir Putin in Russia found widespread support for appointing, rather than electing, regional governors. Moreover, in states with weak parties but strong regional or ethnic divisions, it is much easier for politicians to organize their support along ethnic or regional divisions, a tendency that strengthens rather than weakens these divisions and can make reaching political compromise very difficult. As an example, Zakaria points out that many of those "democrats" who sought to dislodge Slobodan Milosevic from power in Serbia did so not because he was too nationalist, but because he was not nationalist enough.25 Countries that have created systems that are too democratic—rooted too much in electoral politics with no other checks on power—have tended to descend into tyranny.26 There is a strong tendency in such situations for usurpation, in which strong presidents use their considerable power to seize even more power, going over the heads of legislatures and courts to popular referenda when necessary.27 "[T]he problem with these winner-take-all systems is that, in most democratizing countries, the winner really does take all."28
Both O'Donnell and Zakaria point out that elections are only one of the necessary checks on the abuse of power, and not necessarily the strongest. O'Donnell argues that crucial to institutionalized democracy is not only "vertical accountability" between elected and voters, which is achieved through elections, but also "horizontal accountability" across a "network of relatively autonomous powers (i.e., other institutions) that can call into question, and eventually punish, improper ways of discharging the responsibilities of a given official."29 An example of such "horizontal accountability" is the "checks and balances" system built into many constitutions. Without such horizontal checks, there may not be enough countervailing force to continuously nudge rulers down th.e path toward democracy. Alexander Motyl goes further, questioning whether countries such as Ukraine and Russia have a sufficiently developed state to produce the rule of law on which horizontal accountability rests.30 Elections may be necessary to increase the level of democracy, but they are not by themselves sufficient. O'Donnell is very skeptical that delegative democracy can be thought of as a move toward liberal democracy: "Even if [delegative democracy] belongs to the democratic genus, however, it could hardly be less congenial to the building and strengthening of democratic political institutions."31
Democracy as Telos
Many analysts have assumed that every overthrow of an authoritarian government represents the beginning of a trek toward democracy. We tend to assume that everyone wants democracy, and that efforts to achieve it will eventually succeed. This view has been asserted perhaps most famously by Francis Fukuyama, who writes that liberal democracy represents the "end point of mankind's ideological evolution" and the "final form of human government.'32 Thus, we have tended to assume that any country moving away from authoritarianism is therefore moving toward liberal democracy. Typical of this assumption is the way that states that are no longer moving toward democracy are characterized as having "stalled" democratization. The implication of the term "stalled" is that the process is halted only temporarily, and that its eventual outcome is not in doubt. In the first two "waves" of democratization, reversion to authoritarianism was common enough. Observers of the "third wave" have only belatedly focused on the possibility that a partially democratic system might be an enduring form of politics with its own characteristics, and worth investigating in its own right.
Carothers states the position succinctly: "Many countries that policy makers and aid practitioners persist in calling 'transitional' are not in transition to
democracy___" In contrast to the standard notion that elections would slowly
force a liberalization of other aspects of postauthoritarian regimes, he finds that "such profound pathologies as highly personalistic parties, transient and shifting parties, or stagnant patronage-based politics appear to be able to coexist for sustained periods with at least somewhat legitimate processes of political pluralism and competition."33 This can happen not only under the "dominant-power" regime, but also under "feckless pluralism," in which alternation in power does not lead to progressive liberalization or reform, but simply to a change in the beneficiaries of state patronage and corruption. That this is possible in Ukraine is clearly considered likely by citizens, many of whom see the teams of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko as little better than the Kuchma regime. Carothers concludes that "what is often thought of as an uneasy, precarious, middle ground between full-fledged democracy and outright dictatorship is actually the most common political condition today of countries in the developing world and the postcommunist world. It is not an exceptional category."34
O'Donnell makes much the same point, distinguishing between institutionalized regimes and enduring ones. Even though his delegative democracies suffer from poor institutionalization, they can be enduring forms of government. "In many cases there is no sign either of any imminent threat of an authoritarian regression, or of advances toward representative democracy."35 He views democratization as occurring in stages. The first stage is the democratic election of a government, and the second the institutionalization of a consolidated regime. "Nothing guarantees that this second transition will occur. New democracies may regress to authoritarian rule or they may stall in a feeble, uncertain situation. This situation may endure without opening avenues for institutionalized forms of democracy."36
What Kind of Democracy Is Ukraine?
Writing in 2002, Bohdan Harasymiw was blunt about Ukraine's situation: "The odyssey on which Ukraine embarked in 1991 is often referred to as a transition to democracy. That is simply wishful thinking."37 The creation of categories such as "illiberal democracy" and "delegative democracy," as well as Carothers's effort to move beyond the terminology of democracy altogether, raises the question of whether Ukraine under Kuchma could be called a "democracy" at all, whatever adjectives are used to qualify the term. While Ukraine in the post-Kuchma era seems more easily characterized as democratic, it cannot yet be called a "liberal" democracy or a "consolidated" democracy. Ukraine's case for being called a democracy, without qualification, rests primarily on the fact that it has held regularly scheduled elections.
Holding elections, however, is not sufficient: even the Soviet Union held elections, which were entirely uncompetitive. To be a democracy even in the most basic sense, elections must not only be held regularly, but also must be competitive, free, and fair. Yushchenko came to power only when an election that was manifestly unfair was overturned in the streets and the courts. The 2006 parliamentary elections, while not perfect, were genuinely free and fair. The question is whether future elections will also be free and fair, or whether 2006, like 1994, will in retrospect appear as an anomaly.
There is a tendency in the literature for a lot of "slippage" on the questions of freeness and fairness of elections. Definitions of democracy always specify that elections must be free and fair, but most observers, in labeling countries democracies, focus on the incidence of elections, ignoring the question of whether they are free or fair. This is understandable because, as Ukraine shows, deciding whether an election is free and fair is much harder than saying it took place. Unfortunately, Western scholars as well as international organizations have generally adopted the standard of "innocent until proven guilty." Unless there is widespread and massive electoral fraud, and it is easy for everyone to see, and there is documentary proof, observers and scholars are reluctant to declare elections unfree or unfair. And so countries get a very dubious label of "democratic," based on elections whose problems are serious but at least partially obscured. Yet in Ukraine and a great number of other countries, elections have been progressively less free and less fair. The details of how ruling groups manipulate the election process will be discussed in Chapter Nine. Here, it is sufficient to say that Ukraine's case for being labeled a democracy rests on its elections, and that these have been only partially free and partially fair. Ukraine's claim to being a liberal democracy, even if strengthened by the Orange Revolution, remains weak.
Institutions and Democracy: Key Questions
From the time of Aristotle, political research has considered how the institutional form of government affects the qualities of government. Perhaps the most influential analysis was that of James Madison, primary author of the Federalist Papers, who condensed much earlier thought into the central notion that the point of political institutions is to prevent a "majority faction" from being able to abuse the rights of the minority. Building on Montesquieu, Madison and his colleagues contended that the separation of powers into three branches was the most reliable means of producing government that could be effective but not tyrannical. However, the Federalists did not believe in the view, often advanced today both implicitly and explicitly, that institutions themselves preserve liberal democracy and that well-designed rules lead directly to publicly minded behavior by rulers. Rather, the goal of separation of powers was to provide for mutual checks among the different parts of government and different interests in society, such that one group could not gain a preponderance of political power. In this view, the virtue of politicians was irrelevant as long as the institutions were designed properly. This approach has been labeled "democracy without democrats."38
The philosopher Immanuel Kant summarized the sentiment of this school of thought:[T]he problem of setting up a state can be solved even by a nation of devils (so long as they possess understanding).... [T]he constitution must be so designed that, although the citizens are opposed to one another in their private attitudes, the opposing views may inhibit one another in such a way that the public conduct of the citizens will be the same as if they did not have such evil attitudes.39
In recent decades, theorists of political institutions have sought to reduce much of democratic theory to the study of formal institutions. Their logic is simple: political actors' motives are fairly uniform, and can be assumed to center on gaining and retaining political office. Political actors are also assumed to be rational, though exactly what this means has been debated. Most broadly, the rationality assumption simply means that actors know their preferences, that their preferences are not self-contradictory, and that actors are able to evaluate the likelihood that different courses of action will lead to their desired goals.40 If so, then politicians' likely behavior within a specific set of constraints could be predicted with some degree of confidence. Dennis Mueller asserts: "If institutions do not 'make the man,' they do, in combination with his goals, determine his behavior."41 If so, then political institutions can be designed to induce the sort of outcomes that are deemed to be desirable.42 Thus Giovanni Sartori calls his book on institutional design Comparative Constitutional Engineering. He sees institutions as "mechanisms that must 'work' and must have an output of sorts."43 Key goals include representation of a wide variety of societal interests, alternation in power of political parties, the existence of strong political parties, and creation of sufficient consensus within government to avoid political stalemate. In many respects, the greatest challenge is to foster the most diverse possible representation of interests that still allow stable and effective government, rather than producing stalemate, and perhaps conflict and overthrow of the system. As Powell argues, this tension is inherent, and a tradeoff must be made.44
In the context of the "third wave" of democratization, the literature on political institutions in the 1990s focuses on two key issues. The first concerns the relative merits of parliamentary versus presidential forms of government. To some extent, parliamentary systems are considered to be more representative but more subject to stalemate or instability, while presidential systems are more likely to create strong governments, but if that goes too far, to lead to authoritarianism. In Ukraine, this dilemma is acute. A presidential form of government has evolved toward authoritarianism, but a new arrangement with a weakened presidency may lead to stalemate.
The second question is the relative merits of different electoral laws. Here the debate is over the strengths and weaknesses of majoritarian versus proportional systems, which are held to have a significant effect on the nature of the party system in the country and hence on the effectiveness and stability of parliament.-Majoritarian systems, in general, are those in which candidates are chosen in single member districts (as in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Canadian or British House of Commons), with the candidate who wins a plurality of votes winning the seat. In theory, such laws should lead to two-party systems, in which one party has a clear majority. In proportional systems, citizens vote for parties rather than candidates, and seats in the parliament are allocated according to the percentage of votes each party receives. Such laws often lead to parliaments in which no single party holds a majority, and postelection coalition-building must take place for a majority to form. This, presumably, induces compromise among competing parties, rather than giving a single party complete control.
This second issue has been at the center of political debates in Ukraine. A loosely majoritarian design produced exactly the opposite of the standard predicted effects in 1994.45 In subsequent elections, Ukraine sought to capture the benefits of both forms of laws, by using a mixture of majoritarian and proportional rules. As we will see however, this hybrid introduced the weaknesses rather than the strengths of both systems. In 2006, Ukraine moved to a fully proportional system. This chapter considers both of these questions in general, and shows how they are relevant to Ukraine. Subsequent chapters will examine in much more detail the evolution of constitutional arrangements and of electoral laws in Ukraine.
Presidential Versus Parliamentary Rule
One of the issues raised in O'Donnell's work on delegative democracy is the tendency for strong presidents to become even more powerful, to the point where they dominate all other sources of political power. A similar point is made by Carothers in his "dominant power" model. These arguments touch on a much broader debate in the field of comparative politics on the dangers of presidential forms of government. Beginning with Juan Linz's article "The Perils of Presidentialism," scholars have debated the virtues of presidential versus parliamentary forms of government.46 The essential question is which form is more likely to lead to consolidated democracy. The examples of the United States and the United Kingdom, two of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world, indicate that both forms are compatible with democracy. Both the United States, the archetypal presidential system, and the United Kingdom, the archetypal parliamentary system, have preserved democracy. Nonetheless, Linz argues, examining primarily the experience of Latin America, presidential systems in new democracies are likely to lead to continual accretion of power by the president until the executive is so powerful that the system loses its democratic characteristics.
As many authors point out, presidential and parliamentary systems pursue two goals that are inherently in tension: representativeness and decisiveness. The question, as Arend Lijphart phrases it, is: "To whose interests should the government be responsive when the people are in disagreement?" In the "majoritarian" view, the answer is that the government should follow the will of the majority. In the "proportional" view, the answer is, in Lijphart's words "as many people as possible."47 Similarly, Shugart and Carey pose the tension as one between "efficiency" and "representation." The former is promoted by a low number of parties (as in a two-party presidential system), which is "efficient" in the sense that it provides clear choices to voters (since positions are laid out prior to the elections, and there is no postelection coalition-building). "Representation," in Shugart and Carey's view, is promoted through multiparty systems, which allow for a broad range of interests to be represented.
The more divided a society is, the more these goals will clash. By putting executive power into a single president who is elected by a majority, presidential systems are "majoritarian" in that they overrepresent that majority and underrepresent minorities. In other words, there is something of a "winner take all" quality. Parliamentary systems, in contrast, are designed to require bargaining among different parliamentary parties to form a coalition that supports a chief executive. By requiring the consent of some minority parties for formation of a government, the system is seen as more representative of minorities, and therefore less majoritarian.
It should be noted, however, that these are general tendencies that will depend on the specific powers given to the president and parliament as well as on the nature of the party system. In parliamentary systems with majoritarian electoral laws for parliament, such as Canada and the UK, the overall system is very majoritarian, because there is no institutional check on the parliament. The winning party simply names the prime minister and can safely ignore the minority. Thus the Canadian system has been called "the friendly dictatorship."48
Defining Presidential and Parliamentary Systems
We can broadly define presidential and parliamentary systems. Linz characterizes a presidential system as one in which "an executive with considerable constitutional powers—generally including full control of the composition of the cabinet and administration—is directly elected by the people for a fixed term and is independent of parliamentary votes of confidence."49 Shugart and Carey similarly define a presidential system as one that includes:
• The popular election of the chief executive
• Fixed term of office for the chief executive and the parliament (as opposed to.terms of office depending on confidence votes)
• The prerogative of the president to choose cabinet members and direct their work.50
In contrast, a parliamentary system, in Linz's definition, is one in which: "the only democratically legitimate institution is parliament. In such a regime, the government's authority is completely dependent upon parliamentary confidence."51 The key points are:
• The chief executive is chosen by the parliament, rather than directly by the voters.
• The duration of the term of chief executive and parliament are not fixed, depending instead on the maintenance of a parliamentary majority, and subject to a vote of no-confidence.
While there is consensus in "textbook" definitions of presidentialism and parliamentarism, hybrid structures such as that in Ukraine, which has both a president (who is not merely a figurehead) and a prime minister (PM), cause difficulties. Some have labeled the Ukrainian system under Kuchma a "presidential-parliamentary system," acknowledging that it is a hybrid. Theoretically, the PM played a significant role in managing the cabinet. But since the PM was chosen by the president, and could be fired by the president, the cabinet was effectively controlled by the president.52 In cross-national studies of postcommunist regimes, Ukraine was routinely categorized as presidential. We use that categorization in this book to cover the period up to 2006. Constitutional changes that went into effect in early 2006 transformed Ukraine into a "parliamentary-presidential" system. That arrangement, like its predecessor, has both a president and a prime minister. In the parliamentary-presidential system, the PM is chosen by the parliament rather than by the president.
The Case for Presidentialism
Presidential forms of government are held to have five primary political advantages.53 First, the president is highly visible, and thus a single individual can be viewed as responsible for policies. In parliaments, in contrast, it is often hard to sort out who is responsible for a particular policy. It can be quite difficult for the average voter to identify exactly who is making policy.
Second, partly as a result of this higher visibility, presidents are seen as being more accountable: in a presidential system, the president cannot "pass the buck." Voters hold him or her accountable for what happens in the country. In contrast, it is argued, with several parliamentary parties, and hundreds of individual members of parliament, it is difficult for voters to identify whom to blame when things do not go as they wish. While it may be that presidents get both more credit and more blame than they deserve, this accountability increases voters' sense of efficacy.
Third, horizontal accountability is built into a well-designed presidential system. By dividing authority to make and implement policy between two branches of government (the separation of legislative and executive powers familiar to any student of U.S. politics), there are "checks and balances" built into the system. The parliamentary system, in contrast, is seen as having very little possibility for balance, since all the authority, both legislative and executive, derives from the parliamentary majority. In a parliamentary system, there is no institutional base from which to challenge the executive apart from the majority that put it there. A British or Canadian prime minister can be checked only by losing an election or by a rebellion within his or her party.
Fourth, the presidency is seen as playing the role of an arbiter, using executive power to forge a consensus when none emerges from a divided parliament. This might be seen as its primary advantage in Ukraine, where the need to help push legislation through a badly divided parliament has been a frequently used argument for building a strong presidency.
Fifth, a powerful president with a clear mandate may be more able to introduce and sustain dramatic economic reform. In contrast to the third and fourth arguments, this view sees the presidency as relatively unchecked, and able to overcome antireformist sentiment from old-guard holdovers in the legislature. This argument is made not universally, but with specific reference to the post-Soviet cases. In this view, the primary goal is not building liberal democracy, but instigating economic reform.54 This argument has particular relevance to the Russian and Ukrainian cases, where Yeltsin, Putin, and Kuchma justified their increasing power in terms of the need to implement economic reform. This argument was often greeted warmly in the West.
The Case for Parliamentarism
The case for parliamentarism stems from different assumptions than those in the case for presidentialism. Whereas promoters of presidential rule see the primary threat to good government in fragmented and stalemated parliaments, advocates of parliamentarism see the danger in institutional conflict between the executive and legislative branches. This institutional conflict, especially if it is worsened by partisan conflict, can lead to impasse.
Critics of presidentialism point to three primary dangers. The first is authoritarianism, or any of the unsavory versions of democracy discussed above. These can occur when a powerful president is able to rule with relatively little limit on executive authority. The second problem is that with two separate bases of national political authority (the executive and the legislature), there is bound to be conflict over whose agenda takes primacy. The third problem is that, with two separately elected national authorities, final responsibility for policy is shared, and accountability is therefore blurred. Hence, one can argue that the presidential system offers less accountability than the parliamentary model. If presidential and parliamentary elections are held at different times, and according to different election laws, as is generally the case, it is inevitable that the executive and legislature will come to power with different perceptions of their mandates and of the policies that will serve their reelection interests.
All of these problems are possible even when the executive and legislative branches are controlled by the same party. The problems with presidential systems are dramatically increased when different parties control the executive and legislative branches. With differently timed elections, and different election rules, this is not at all unlikely. Even in the United States, with its very narrow political spectrum, control by one party of both houses of the legislature and the executive is relatively rare. By dividing power across parties this way, critics of presidentialism argue, presidential systems have a built-in tendency toward partisan deadlock, in which the party controlling the legislature and the party controlling the executive work to block each other's priorities. Such obstructionism can stem from genuine disagreements or from the electoral advantages of denying the other side success.
In a parliamentary system, according to advocates of this type of system, power is shared through the coalition-building process, but unified once a government is formed. Coalition governments cannot rule unchecked, because they must keep junior partners in the coalition. Because the group that controls the legislature also controls the executive, institutional conflict between the two branches becomes nearly irrelevant, and it is impossible for the two branches to be controlled by different parties.
Recently, the bulk of opinion among political scientists seems to be in favor of parliamentarism, though there is no consensus.55 M. Steven Fish, for example, refutes the finding that presidentialism is more conducive to reform, by showing an inverse relationship between presidentialism and economic reform in the postcommunist states.56 Rather than trying to resolve this theoretical debate, it is much more important to recognize a more fundamental point: the question ultimately is empirical rather than theoretical. The cases for the two different approaches are based on two different notions of what the danger is. Advocates of parliamentarism worry about interbranch conflict and about hyperpresidential rule. Advocates of presidential systems worry about stalemate within the parliament and resulting instability.
Since there are numerous successful examples of both types of systems, and numerous failures of both types, it seems dubious to argue that one system is inherently superior. Rather, the key point for practitioners of "institutional design" should be to figure out which problems are more salient in a given situation, and once a choice of system is made, how to guard against its inherent dangers. When a parliamentary system is chosen, design of the electoral law to maximize the likelihood that a stable majority will emerge is essential. When choosing a presidential system, ensuring that both president and legislature have incentives to compromise is crucial.
Presidentialism Versus Parliamentarism in Ukraine
Parliamentary and presidential systems have different strengths and are intended to solve different kinds of problems. The fundamental challenge for Ukraine is that it has experienced the problems to which both types of constitutional arrangement are vulnerable. Ukraine's parliament has generally been badly fragmented, such that passing decisive legislation has been nearly impossible. This has motivated the shift toward increasing presidential power in creating a post-Soviet constitution, and more recently has driven Viktor Yushchenko's claim that the presidency needs more power. However, Ukraine is equally plagued by the dangers of presidentialism: institutional conflict between the executive and legislature has been endemic, and even though the parliament has been fragmented, partisan deadlock between executive and legislative branches has been substantial.
Ukraine's institutional problems have not been explored in sufficient detail. Subsequent chapters will probe the factors that lead to fragmentation of parliament, executive-parliamentary conflict, and the accretion of presidential power. It will become clear that many of Ukraine's problems indeed stem from its institutional arrangements. This does not mean, however, that solutions are simple.
While presidentialism is not necessarily inappropriate for Ukraine, the arrangements in Ukraine from 1995 to 2006 gave the executive so much power that it had little need to compromise with the legislature. Instead of becoming an honest broker for a divided parliament, as advocates of presidentialism predict, the Ukrainian executive has had every incentive to undermine legislative unity. As long as the legislature is stalemated, the president rules unimpeded.57 As a result, we will see, tipping the balance of power more toward the parliament was necessary, even if the measures adopted in 2004 are not ideal.
However, shifting power toward the parliament is no panacea. What good can come of giving more power to a parliament that is chronically stalemated? In order to make the system work, that too would need to change. One reason parliament is stalemated, I shall argue, is that with no real power vis-a-vis the executive, there is little to be gained in return for the sacrifices that must be made to forge coalitions. To that extent, giving the parliament more power will itself create incentives to form durable ruling coalitions. Early evidence from the new rules adopted in 2004 indicate that this is already taking place.
We shall see (in Chapter Eight) that much of this problem stems from a level of institutional rules that is generally ignored in the literature on institutional design: the rules of parliamentary procedure. Several salient aspects of the parliamentary rules discourage coalescing of parties and encourage fragmentation. Moreover, to the extent that the executive seeks to prevent coalescing, the parliamentary rules make it very easy to achieve that goal. Finally, the parliament has been so badly fragmented because of an electoral law that minimizes incentives for preelection coalition-building, undermines the construction of strong parties, and gives elected members minimal incentive to forge coalitions or to stick with them.
In sum, then, the standard institutional arguments do indeed apply to Ukraine, but not if applied simplistically. The choice of a presidential versus a parliamentary system is crucial, but it would be silly to argue that one system will doom the country while the other will automatically produce democracy. There are multiple necessary conditions for the development of liberal democracy. In reviewing debates about the virtues and shortcomings of the two types, it is more important to grasp the requirements for each to work well, and the threats to it, than to try to figure out which form of rule will be a silver bullet that will solve all problems.
For Ukraine, as for any other country, neither form of government will work well without the establishment of a well-functioning parliament. To switch to a parliamentary system, as some have advocated, without fixing the parliament, would be disastrous. To maintain a presidential system, without fixing the parliament and curtailing executive power, is likely to be equally unproductive. Legislatures are at the center of every liberal democracy in the world, and there is no reason to believe that any constitutional setup will allow Ukraine to prosper without a functioning legislature.
Parliamentary Electoral Laws: Proportionality Versus Majoritarianism
No aspect of institutional design has received greater attention than electoral laws, and only a very broad sketch of an enormous literature can be offered here.58 Electoral laws can have an immense effect on the party system in a country, on the degree of fragmentation or cohesion of the parliament, and hence on the parliament's ability to legislate effectively. Moreover, "compared to other components of political systems, electoral systems are the easiest to manipulate with specific goals in view."59
The study of electoral laws, while usually carried out distinctly from the debate over presidential versus parliamentary forms of government, in fact has important implications for both. How well either system performs will be strongly influenced by the situation in the parliament. Presidentialism, for example, is seen as especially problematic when elections do not yield a majority party. In a presidential system, therefore, electoral laws that emphasize, above all, the formation of a parliamentary majority are essential. Parliamentarism also relies on the formation of a parliamentary majority, but this can happen through a postelection coalition process rather than through the elections themselves. Since either form of government relies on a functioning parliament (though each has different requirements) the institutional rules that define the composition of the parliament are vital.
Studies of election laws have focused on two archetypal systems, the single-member district (SMD) plurality system (e.g., that used to elect the U.S. House of Representatives and the British or Canadian House of Commons) and the proportional representation (PR) system used in electing legislatures in Germany,60 Israel, and Poland, among many others. In practice, there are many variants of these two schemes. The two systems are subject to Duverger's law and Duverger's hypothesis, respectively. Together, Duverger's law and hypothesis find that SMD plurality election laws lead to two-party systems (Duverger's law) while proportional representation laws lead to multiparty systems (Duverger's hypothesis).61
In two-party systems, one party or the other is virtually guaranteed a majority in parliament, such that coalition formation is not an issue. In PR systems, it is more likely that no single party will win a majority, and that a coalition will be required to form a working majority. The primary benefit pointed to by supporters of PR is that it allows for representation in parliament of a much broader array of political forces, forcing winners to compromise with losers and preventing minorities from feeling disenfranchised. We can think of plurality systems as forcing political groups to form semipermanent alliances prior to elections, while in PR they form more temporary alliances after elections.
Mixed Electoral Systems
Ukraine confounded this analysis in 1998 and 2002 by using a mixed system: 225 deputies were elected in SMDs based on plurality voting, while another 225 were elected on party lists according to PR (this system is still used in Russia).62 This hybrid, rare until the 1990s, has become increasingly popular in the "third wave" democracies. As Erik Herron and Misa Nishikawa have shown, it is difficult to model the expected outcomes of this system using the standard assumptions.63 A growing literature finds, unsurprisingly, that there are no generally predictable effects for the variety of "mixed systems."64 Instead, whether the systems behave more like proportional systems or more like plurality systems depends on how the two components are combined.65
For example, in the German "compensatory" mixed system, citizens vote for both a district-level representative and a party. But the seats are not divided equally between the two parts of the ballot. Instead, after the single-member districts are allocated, additional seats are awarded to parties so that their totals conform to the results of the proportional portion of the election. Thus, the system functions essentially as a proportional system, and is usually classified as such. In a mixed system such as that used in Ukraine (in 1998 and 2002) and in Russia, the SMD portion has equal influence over the distribution of power among parties. Parties therefore can make winning SMD seats a significant part of their strategy for controlling parliament, as did the pro-Kuchma United Ukraine bloc in 2002.
Advocates hold that mixed systems have "the promise of providing the best of both the dominant nineteenth- and twentieth-century worlds of electoral systems."66 From proportional systems, it is contended, they take the ability to represent sizable minorities and a tendency to build party cohesion. From plurality systems, it is contended, they take strong representation of local and regional interests and an incentive for members to serve constituents. A more cautious view, however, is that the two portions of the mixed system "contaminate" each other, so that neither portion functions as it would in a pure SMD or pure PR system.67
Strengths of Proportional and Single-Member District Elections
As was the case with the debate over presidentialism versus parliamentarism, plurality and proportional electoral systems are intended to serve different ideals of democracy, and to avoid different pitfalls. Plurality systems, by creating (in theory) a two-party system and hence guaranteeing a parliamentary majority, have both the benefits and drawbacks of majoritarianism: they create a clear winner, with a majority to pass legislation, that can be held accountable at the next election. In presidential systems, the existence of a clear parliamentary majority to bargain with the president and provide a check on executive power is viewed as essential. On the other hand, creating a clear winner also creates a clear loser, and can severely overrepresent a narrow majority. At the level of the district, a party that wins 51 percent of the vote wins 100 percent of the seats; and at the level of the parliament, a party that controls 51 percent of the seats has 100 percent of the legislative power. In states with relatively fragmented societies or with substantial minorities, it can mean that some parties that represent substantial portions of the population have no chance of ever coming to power or influencing legislation. The strength of proportional systems is that they allow such minority parties to have an influence through their potentially crucial role in the coalition-building process.
The other key difference between plurality and proportional systems concerns to whom members of parliament "owe" their seats. In a party-list proportional system, the party organization determines an individual's placement on the list, and hence his or her likelihood of entering parliament. The virtue is that, because members are dependent on party leadership for their seats, party discipline ought to be high, which is usually helpful for passing legislation. However, members of parliament in this system have no specific "constituents" more narrowly defined than the entire electorate. Therefore, representation of local concerns is minimized, and individual citizens have no particular member to contact with their concerns. In contrast, in single-member districts, members owe their seats to the local constituents who elect them. This, it is argued, gives them a much more substantial interest in being responsive to the concerns of those constituents, and in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, members and their staffs spend a good deal of time on exactly this. However, because legislators in the United States can be elected by local voters even if these legislators displease the party leadership, single-member districts are held to provide for weaker party discipline, and therefore to require "log-rolling" in order to get legislation passed.
These generalizations should be taken with a good deal of reservation. Many of the supposed effects of both systems are, on close inspection, effects not of the general system, but of other rules. An important example is party discipline, which is very high in the plurality SMD system in Canada and the United Kingdom, and very low in the plurality SMD system in the United States. Clearly, the electoral system does not determine party discipline. Rather the nomination rules that control who can be a party's candidate in a given constituency are decisive. In the United States, representatives must reside in the district they aim to represent, and disputes over who will be a party's candidate are resolved by voters, in primary elections, rather than by the party leadership. In the United Kingdom, in contrast, anyone can represent any constituency, and party leaders determine which party members will run in which districts. Thus, the British practice of assigning party leaders to "safe" seats has much more in common with the PR practice of putting leaders at the top of the list than it does with the primary system used in the United States.
Similarly, the level of party discipline is heavily influenced by a more microlevel factor that is not inherent to either system: rules about switching parties. In systems where an individual holds the "mandate" for a seat in parliament, the member can switch parties without losing the seat. In other systems, however, the seat belongs to the party rather than to the member, and a member who quits the party forfeits the seat. As we will see in the case of Ukraine, this factor is as crucial as choice of electoral law in understanding the problems in parliament and the possible solutions.
The Problem of Weak Political Parties
In one important respect, the mainstream literature seems unable to grasp the nature of Ukraine's problems, and in this area we will need to strike out on our own in developing explanations and prescriptions. The problem concerns the incredible weakness of political parties in Ukraine. While most literature on electoral laws focuses on resolving the problem of forming a parliamentary majority, Ukraine has needed to solve a prior problem: the weakness of political parties in general. The mixed system was adopted in Ukraine in part with a view to solving both problems at once. This is a tall order, not envisioned in the considerable literature that has been used to design and analyze these systems. This issue will be treated at much greater length in Chapter Seven. But it is important to note that the literature on institutional design and on electoral systems does not really address the problem of forming political parties. Nor does it consider how various electoral rules will work in systems without a recognizable "party system."
The literature on electoral systems does have much to say about the influence of electoral laws on the evolution of existing party systems. However, none of this theory considers the question of how different electoral provisions will influence the formation of parties where no parties exist. Previous scholarship should not be faulted for this, for the question has rarely arisen empirically. Moreover, it seems reasonable to take for granted that when a state becomes democratic and prepares to hold elections, parties will form spontaneously to contest them, and that once they do, conventional approaches to electoral systems will apply.
At least in the case of Ukraine, the problem of party system formation turns out to be very different than the problem of the evolution of an existing party system. Put simply, it is not inevitable that parties will come to dominate the electoral scene. In Ukraine, politicians have used ad hoc alliances and personal resources, as well as permanent parties, to contest elections. Some electoral arrangements may have a much stronger effect than others in forcing electoral activity into parties, as opposed to other possible avenues for vying for office, such as loose electoral alliances or individual resources. Ukraine thus presents problems for analysis that go beyond the solutions provided by the conventional literature.
Two important points result. First, application of the standard findings from the literature on electoral systems leaves crucial puzzles (such as the weakness of the party system) unsolved. We must therefore be willing to explore some new theoretical ground here. Second, however, it would be wrong to conclude that conventional theory "does not apply" to Ukraine. Within important limits, it does indeed apply. The problem in applying this theory to Ukraine so far is that it has been done without much attention to detail. For example, the single-member portion of the mixed ballot has been advocated on the grounds that this format will tend to reduce the number of parties, as indicated in Duverger's law. However, Duverger's law does not state that entire countries will develop a two-party system. It says that each constituency will develop a two-party system. This will result in the entire country going to a two-party system only if the country is sufficiently homogenous that the same two parties emerge victorious across all the districts. Given what we know about Ukraine's regional diversity, Duverger's law predicts not a two-party system at the national level, but a multitude of parties, each of which is one of the two strongest within its region, but may be utterly absent elsewhere.
What the Institutional Design Literature Does Not Tell Us
The literature on institutional design tells us a lot, but much of what we want to know is beyond its scope. If scholars of Ukrainian politics have tended to pay too little notice to the findings from the broader study of institutional design and comparative democratization, scholars of institutional design have probably applied their strongest findings too universally, and underestimated the influence of factors not included in their theories. The argument here is not that theories that apply elsewhere do not apply to Ukraine. On the contrary, most of them apply as well to Ukraine as to other countries, as long as they are applied carefully. The problem is that there are some key questions that these theories simply do not address, and are not intended to address. In this respect, two issues arise that will appear throughout this book. First, theories of institutional design can reasonably attempt to predict the effects of different arrangements, but they cannot predict the causes of those arrangements. Second, institutional theories assume that all the key political processes occur within formal institutions. To the extent that politics is noninstitutionalized (in other words, the rule of law is weak) formal institutional theories are less applicable. These two issues turn out to be related.
Theories of institutional design specify the relationship between a set of formal institutions and certain outcome (e.g., single-member district plurality electoral systems lead to two-party systems). They do not, and in fact cannot, explain why one set of institutions is chosen over another. In other words, they can explain the effects of formal rules but not the causes. This is readily acknowledged by leading scholars in the formal analysis of institutions. George Tsebelis, for example, argues that there cannot be a rational choice theory of institutional design, because the design of the institutions is an art and its laws are "unknowable."68 While scholars tend to write in the abstract as though the discussion for institutional rules in a given country is driven by some abstract notion of what would produce the best government, to the actors actually making the rules, it is often the pursuit of political power that motivates decisions.69 Thus, Tsebelis argues that institutions should not simply be considered objective "inherited constraints," but rather are the ' objects of human behavior."70
Advances in our understanding of the effects of different institutions actually promote this, because "Knowing precisely what kinds of outcomes an institution will produce transforms voting over outcomes into voting over institutions."71 There are many examples of this in Ukraine, including the struggle over election laws. Since the effects of different electoral laws on different political forces have been readily predictable, discussions of electoral law have focused on who would gain or lose seats, rather than on what might lead to effective government.
A broader problem with focusing on the effects of formal institutions is that much of politics occurs outside of institutions. We may tend to underestimate this because in most Western states politics is highly institutionalized, but there are clear examples of this even in stable democracies. For example, despite many rules trying to limit its influence, money has a profound effect on politics, both in terms of winning elections and in terms of influencing legislators and bureaucrats between elections. Efforts to stem that influence have been made for 200 years, but have only been partially successful.
In a state undergoing fundamental institutional change, much less is circumscribed by formal rules. Accordingly, therefore, much more is potentially solved through noninstitutional means. Such means include not only the use of money, but the use of violence. Everyday legislation is "nested" within laws about how legislation is made, and how legislators are elected. These rules in turn are nested within a constitutional order. As long as that constitutional order is robust, everything else can follow from it. But where does the constitutional order come from, and how robust is it? In Western democracies such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we take these matters for granted. In the postcommunist states, these are not hypothetical questions.
The study of politics in a weakly institutionalized setting has long been the purview of the field of international relations rather than comparative politics. But the problems faced in postcommunist states are not theoretically dissimilar. At crucial times in Moscow, Kyiv, and elsewhere, vital institutional decisions have been determined by the ability of different actors to apply physical force. In other words, a domestic version of "balance of power politics" has prevailed. In Russia, the military's decision to side with Yeltsin rather than Rutskoi and Khasbulatov in 1993 ushered in a new order and a new constitution. In Ukraine, when the security forces sided with Kuchma and one group of legislators, a challenge by another group of legislators was defeated. When the security organs refrained from involvement in 2004, the outcome changed drastically. Again, this is not unique to post-Soviet states struggling for democracy: both the United States and England had full-blown civil wars to determine which institutional rules would prevail
In this vein, Michael McFaul argues that the success of postcommunist democratization has been largely determined by the balance of power between reformers and autocrats. He contends that democracy emerges only where reformers hold a disproportionate share of power, and that where power is balanced stalemate persists, as in Ukraine.72 This view rejects the "democracy without democrats" perspective discussed above, and premises the creation of democracy on imbalance, rather than balance, of power.
To understand post-Soviet Ukrainian politics we need to understand "power politics" as well as institutional design. Institutional design will help us understand the effects of different arrangements. Power politics will tell us why certain rules have been adopted and why the rules do not apply equally to all actors. In the following chapters, these explanations are intertwined. If we want to explain the adoption of a particular rule or set of rules, we need to understand both the predictable effects of those rules and the ability of certain actors to win the contest over the rules.
1. Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991).
2. On the complementary nature of rational choice and historical institutionalism, see Ira Katznelson and Barry R. Weingast, eds., Preferences and Situations: Points of Intersection between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005).
3. Philip G. Roeder, "Varieties of Post-Soviet Authoritarian Regimes," Post-Soviet Affairs 10 (1994): 61-101.
4. Fareed Zakaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy," Foreign Affairs, no. 6 (November-December 1997): 22.
5. Robert Dahl, "What Political Institutions Does Large-Scale Democracy Require?" Political Science Quarterly 120, no. 2 (Summer 2005), Table 1.
6. Guillermo O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," Journal of Democracy 5, no. 1 (January 1994): 57-59.
7. Ibid., 57.
8. Ibid., 58.
9. Ibid., 59.
10. Zakaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy," 23.
11. Ibid., 30. Zakaria goes on to point out that "what is distinctive about the American system is not how democratic it is but rather how undemocratic it is," (39) because limits on pure democracy are necessary to protect against the abuse of power by a strong president.
12. Ibid., pp. 25-26.
13. Ibid., p. 40.
14. Thomas Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," Journal of Democracy 13, no. 1 (January 2002): 10. Carothers's analysis has been widely commented on. See the essays by Carothers, Guillermo O'Donnell, Kenneth Wollack, Ghia Nodia, and Gerald Hyman in Journal of Democracy 13, no. 3 (July 2002).
15. The effort to characterize these regimes has led to a proliferation of different labels, including, in addition to those discussed here, "facade democracy," "pseudo-democracy," "weak democracy," and "partial democracy." See Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," 10; and Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way, "The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism," Journal of Democracy 13 (April 2002): 51-63. The general problem of classifying these regimes is discussed in David Collier and Steven Levitsky, "Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research," World Politics 49, no. 3 (1997): 430-51; and Larry Diamond, "Thinking about Hybrid Regimes," Journal of Democracy 13 (April 2002): 21-35.
16. Paul Kubicek, "The Limits of Electoral Democracy in Ukraine," Democratization 8, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 117-39.
17. O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," 59.
18. Zakaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy," 30-32. O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," 60, makes the same point.
19. Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," 11-12.
20. G. Bingham Powell, Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 4.
21. It is possible to go even further still. There is a substantial body of literature, largely developed in the 1960s to deal with the first wave of democratization, but revived in recent years, positing that there are certain structural prerequisites for democratization, and that none of the other processes—elections, constitution making, liberalization, can succeed until the prerequisites are met. For a summary of this school of thought and an application to the Ukrainian and Russian cases, see Alexander J. Motyl, "Structural Constraints and Starting Points: The Logic of Systemic Change in Ukraine and Russia," Comparative Politics (July 1997): 433-47.
22. Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," 7.
23. Ibid., 8.
24. Ibid., 12.
25. Zakaria, "The Rise of Illiberal Democracy," 35.
26. Ibid., 39.
27. Ibid., 31.
28. Ibid., 42.
29. O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," 61.
30. Motyl, "Structural Constraints and Starting Points," 437.
31. O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," 62.
32. Francis Fukuyama, "The End of History?" National Interest (Summer 1989); and The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).
33. Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," 15.
34. Ibid., 18.
35. O'Donnell, "Delegative Democracy," 56.
37. Bohdan Harasymiw, Post-Communist Ukraine (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 2002), 3.
38. See Michael McFaul, "The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship: Non-cooperative Transitions in the Postcommunist World," in After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons ofTransition, ed. Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 59. McFaul rejects the notion of "democracy without democrats."
39. Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace , in Kant, Political Writings, 2d ed., ed. Hans Riess (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 112-13. See also Kant, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose  in Political Writings, 50.
40. For a more specific, but still nontechnical, discussion of rationality, see James D. Morrow, Game Theory for Political Scientists (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 17-20. Morrow summarizes: "Put simply, rational behavior means choosing the best means to gain a predetermined set of goals. It is an evaluation of the consistency of choices and not of the thought process, of implementation of fixed goals and not of the morality of those goals."
41. Dennis C. Mueller, "Constitutional Public Choice," in Perspectives on Public Choice, ed. Mueller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 124.
42. An important example of this literature, with substantial relevance to Ukraine, may be found in Mafhew Soberg Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).
43. Giovanni Sartori, Comparative Constitutional Engineering, 2ded. (New York: New York University Press, 1997), ix.
44. Powell, Elections as Instruments of Democracy, 19.
45. This is a simplification that will be qualified substantially in Chapter Seven.
46. Juan Linz, "The Perils of Presidentialism," Journal of Democracy 1 (Winter 1990): 51-71. The literature on this question has grown considerably. See Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skach, "Constititional Frameworks and Democratic Consolidation: Parliamentarism versus Presidentialism," World Politics 46 (October 1993): 1-22; Gerald M. Easter, "Preference for Presidentialism: Postcommunist Regime Change in Russia and the NIS," World Politics 49 (January 1997): 184-211; Scott Mainwaring, "Presidentialism, Multiparty Systems, and Democracy: The Difficult Equation," Comparative Political Studies 26, no. 2 (1993): 198-230; John M. Carey and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Executive Decree Authority (Cambridge: Cambridge, 1998); Giuseppe DiPalma, To Craft Democracies: An Essay on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Juan Linz and Arturo Valenzuela, eds., The Failure of Presidential Democracy: Comparative Perspectives (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); and Timothy M. Frye, "The Politics of Institutional Choice: Postcommunist Presidencies," Comparative Political Studies 30, no. 5 (October 1997): 523-32.
47. Arend Lijphart, Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984) quoted in Powell, Elections as Instruments of Democracy, 21.
48. Jeffrey Simpson, The Friendly Dictatorship (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2001).
49. Linz, "The Perils of Presidentialism," 52.
50. Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies, 19.
51. Linz, "The Perils of Presidentialism," 52.
52. Shugart and Carey discuss also the "Premier-Presidential" model Presidents and Assemblies, 49 ff), which Ukraine's system was in part designed to emulate, and still superficially resembles. However, in order for the system to be identified as "premier-presidential" rather than "presidential," there must be a clear division of responsibilities between the president and the prime minister, and this division "must be respected on both sides, instead of producing competitive dyarchy." These conditions were certainly not met in Ukraine under the 1996 constitution.
53. The first four of these are listed by Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies, 44. They do not list the fifth, but it is focused on in many discussions of postcommunist reform.
54. M. Steven Fish, "The Determinants of Economic Reform in the Post-Communist World," East European Politics and Societies 12, no. 1 (Winter 1998): 31-78.
55. Ibid., 45.
56. Ibid., 46.
57. The president's incentive to undermine parliamentary cohesion is discussed by Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies, 30-31. See also Mainwaring, "Presidentialism, Multiparty Systems, and Democracy."
58. A good overview of the major issues may be found in Rein Taagepera and Matthew Soberg Shugart, Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999). See also Gary W. Cox, Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
59. Taagepera and Shugart, Seats and Votes, 4.
60. Germany is sometimes considered a "mixed system," because part of the ballot elects members in districts. But because the party list portion of the ballot is then used to create proportional final results, the proportional component controls which party rules, even if the exact identities of a relatively small number of Bundestag members are determined by the district voting. See Matthew Soberg Shugart and Martin P. Wattenberg, "Mixed-Member Systems: A Definition and Typology," in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems: The Best of Both Worlds? ed. Shugart and Wattenberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
61. Of Duverger's two assertions, one is called a "law" and the other a "hypothesis" because Duverger and subsequent authors have much more confidence in the nearly universal validity of the former, while the latter is viewed as being generally but not definitively true. See William H. Riker, "The Two-Party System and Duverger's Law: An Essay on the History of Political Science," American Political Science Review 76, no. 4 (December 1982): 753-66. For substantial refinement and qualification of both the law and the hypothesis, see Cox, Making Votes Count.
62. For a theoretically driven comparative examination of mixed electoral systems, see Federico Ferrara, Erik Herron, and Misa Nishikawa, Mixed Electoral Systems: Contamination and Its Consequences (New York: Palgrave, 2005); and Shugart and Wattenberg, Mixed-Member Electoral Systems. In Russia, the threshold is 5 percent, and in Ukraine it was 4 percent in 1998 and 2002. In the fully PR system that went into effect in Ukraine in 2006, the threshold is 3 percent.
63. Erik S. Herron and Misa Nishikawa, "Contamination Effects and the Number of Parties in Mixed-Superposition Electoral Systems," Electoral Studies 20 (March 2001): 63-86.
64. Shugart and Wattenberg, "Mixed-Member Systems."
65. Ferrara, Herron, and Nishikawa, Mixed Electoral Systems, chap. 4.
66. Shugart and Wattenberg, "Mixed-Member Systems," 1. See also Matthew Soberg Shugart, "'Extreme' Electoral Systems and the Appeal of the Mixed-Member Alternative," in Shugart and Wattenberg, Mixed-Member Electoral Systems.
67. Ferrara, Herron, and Nishikawa, Mixed Electoral Systems, chap. 1. See also Herron and Nishikawa, "Contamination Effects."
68. George Tsebelis, Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 11. He cites William Riker on this point.
69. James Mahoney, "Combining Institutionalisms," in Katznelson and Weingast, Preferences and Situations, 325-27.
70. Tsebelis, Nested Games, 9.
71. Ibid., 11.
72. McFaul, "The Fourth Wave," 59. It should be noted that the constellation of power necessary to create democracy is a separate question from that most likely to maintain it. It could take a preponderance of power to create a new set of institutions, and some degree of balance to prevent another revision.