Borrowing the dominant theoretical frameworks of studies of voter turnout in the developed world, this paper tests the applicability of these frameworks to a transitional democracy in a Muslim society. Using logistic regression, we estimate an individual’s likelihood of voting in Kyrgyzstan’s 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections.We find that traditional rural networks, rather than networks of voluntary associations, play the central role in the mobilization of voters. In addition, turnout is affected by long-standing cultural cleavages based on religion and ethnicity, and by education, occupation, and trust in government. Our findings suggest that the political behavior of the people of the Kyrgyz Republic is supportive of democracy, in spite of elite-level obstacles to a successful transition.

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