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State Duma to discuss presidential political reform initiatives on Feb 28

February 12, 2012, 23:12 UTC+3

The bill says that the governor must be elected in a universal, equal, direct and secret ballot

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MOSCOW, February 12 (Itar-Tass) —— The State Duma will discuss presidential political reform initiatives in the attendance of non-parliamentary parties on February 28.

“The State Duma meeting has been postponed from February 17 to February 28 so that the deputies could discuss the presidential political reform initiatives,” Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said. “Non-parliamentary parties will be invited to attend the meeting.”

Naryshkin did not rule out on Wednesday that the State Duma might need another meeting in the end of February for hearing the presidential bill on gubernatorial elections. He said he had ordered the Regulatory Committee to suggest a date of hearing the bill in the first reading. In turn, Chairman of the State Duma Constitutional Legislation and State Development Committee Vladimir Pligin (United Russia) said the bill had been presented to regions, whose opinions must be voiced before February 22.

According to the adjusted work plan, the State Duma will have two plenary weeks in a row in February, from February 6 to 19. The deputies will visit regions from February 20 to March 4. That will enable the leaders of three State Duma factions – Gennady Zyuganov (the Communist Party), Sergei Mironov (A Just Russia) and Vladimir Zhirinovsky (the Liberal Democratic Party) – to concentrate on the presidential election campaign.

Presidential Representative to the State Duma Garri Minkh told Itar-Tass that the house might hear the three presidential initiatives regarding the political system modernization in a single package in February.

President Dmitry Medvedev presented to the parliament two bills simplifying the work of parties in late December 2011, in development of his state of the nation address. The first bill would cut the requirements to registration and activity of parties. It says that starting from January 1, 2013, a party seeking registration must have no less than 500 members (40,000 at present) and cancels the requirement to the minimal membership of a party’s regional organization.

The second bill exempts all parties participating in parliamentary elections from the collection of signatures in their support. Non-parliamentary party nominees in presidential elections will have to collect 100,000 signatures (instead of current 2 million), while self-nominated candidates will collect 300,000 signatures (2 million at present).

Medvedev submitted the third bill, concerning the election of governors, to the parliament on January 16. The bill says that the governor must be elected in a universal, equal, direct and secret ballot.

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