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Duma to begin debates on bills for political reform immediately

December 26, 2011, 6:01 UTC+3

Naryshkin recalled that several bills were passed from the fifth State Duma

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MOSCOW, December 26 (Itar-Tass) —— State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin noted that “the most topical bills now are those that concern the development and improvement of the political system.” “Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev voiced these initiatives in his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Federal Assembly. Relevant committees of the State Duma will begin working on these documents as soon as they are submitted in the State Duma,” Naryshkin said in an interview, which was published in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily on Monday.

Meanwhile, Naryshkin recalled that several bills were passed from the fifth State Duma. These bills were already approved in first or second readings. “The sixth State Duma will begin its work from these bills,” the speaker said.

On Friday, two presidential bills were submitted in the State Duma. One of the bills envisages considerably easier requirements to the creation and activities of political parties. An organization that numbers only 500 people can be recognized as a political party starting from January 1, 2013. Under the current rules the party should have no less than 45,000 members and no less than 40,000 members starting from January 1, 2012. The second bill cancels the signup campaign for candidates at any elections except for presidential elections. However, public unions, which intend to run in the elections in local self-government bodies, should collect signatures in support of their candidates. Meanwhile, under this bill, the non-parliamentary parties should collect 100,000 signatures of voters, rather than two million signatures as now at presidential elections. The number of signatures, which are required in support of self-nominees, will be cut from two millions to 300,000.

As for the bill, which spells out the procedure of gubernatorial elections, Naryshkin “preferred to give more detailed comments on this issue, when a relevant bill will be submitted in the State Duma and will be debated there.”

“Now I can only say that several variants are probable that envisage the participation in the election procedure of political parties and the president,” the speaker pointed out.

Naryshkin noted that the work on these initiatives “lasted already for several months” and it cannot be concluded that street protests made the president put forward these initiatives. Although, certainly street protests “reflect public moods or some part of public moods, which exist now, and it is very useful for the authorities to realize these moods and give an adequate response to them,” the State Duma speaker said.

He also noted that he “is glad about the fact” that at the first meeting of the State Duma on December 21 the deputies managed to form the committees, which began working already from the first day.

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