When Majorities Fail is a study of institutional failure in Russia's first democratic legislature. Inadequate rules and a chaotic party system combined to make it nearly impossible to pass a coherent legislative program, including a new constitution. The internal instability in Russia's parliament is known as cycling, one of the most important theoretical concepts in formal study of legislatures. There are few recorded cases of cycling in politically important settings. This book documents the presence of cyclical majorities in Russian Parliament with comprehensive case and statistical analysis, and demonstrates how the failure to adopt a new constitution led to the confrontation between parliament and president in the fall of 1993. Earlier research has shown that the design of a legislative institution is crucial in preventing cycling. The author shows how the institutional design of the parliament failed, underscoring the importance of institutional design in a democratic transition.

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