Post-Soviet Central Asia and democracy: Party system formation in Kyrgyzstan

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Vendulka Kubalkova - Committee Chair


The collapse of the Soviet Union marked a new era of transition toward democracy for the newly independent states. Less than a decade after gaining independence Kyrgyzstan is still touted as a beacon of democracy among its authoritarian neighbors in Central Asia. Similar to other states in transition, however, the road toward democracy for Kyrgyzstan has been filled with twists and turns which threaten to derail its course. In an effort to explain the intricacies of political development in Kyrgyzstan, this dissertation applies traditional, institutional theories of party system formation to the case of Kyrgyzstan. Finding limits to this approach, the framework is broadened to one of new institutionalism, in order to include societal and rational choice factors in the institutional context. When applied to the case of Kyrgyzstan, the new institutionalist framework likewise leaves questions unanswered. Particularly important, but not addressed, are international influences on the party system. This dissertation outlines the foundation for a "new international institutionalism" which it is hoped, after further testing, may eventually evolve into a framework relevant to other states in transition toward democracy. In addition this dissertation makes ten tentative propositions regarding the party system which may be relevant to other post-Soviet states.


Political Science, General; Political Science, International Law and Relations

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