The way in which citizens understand the meaning of elections may have a profound impact on the legitimation of transitional political systems. In post-Communist systems, this legitimation depends on the development of feelings that elections perform the functions of achieving accountability of elected officials, influencing policy direction of government and gaining personal benefits. Surveys in Russia and Ukraine at the time of elections in 1993 and 1994 show that those attaching such meanings to elections were most likely to display political interest and support system legitimacy, but that such people were a minority of the electorate. Popular acceptance of elections as legitimate democratic institutions in the future will depend on their ability to perform the functions of accountability, policy influence and personal benefit. Copyright

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Journal Electoral Studies
Pammett, J.H, & DeBardeleben, J. (1996). The meaning of elections in transitional democracies: Evidence from Russia and Ukraine. Electoral Studies, 15(3), 363–381. doi:10.1016/0261-3794(96)00011-X