MOSCOW, March 15 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma may pass a law that simplifies the creation and registration of political parties by March 23.
The head of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development, Vladimir Pligin, who is a member of the presidential working group for the improvement of the political system, suggested speeding up the consideration of amendments to legislation that lower the minimum required number of party members and discuss them by March 15 so that the draft law could be submitted to the Duma for the second reading on March 20. In this case, the Federation Council will be able to approve it on March 28.
Presidential chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin, who is the head of the working group, supported the fast track procedure for the draft law. “Everyone is interested to get it considered as quickly as possible so that political parties could take part in the political process already this coming autumn,” Pligin said.
So far, 69 applications from new political parties have been submitted to the Justice Ministry for registration.
On February 28, the State Duma passed unanimously the first reading of the draft law that reduced the minimum number of party members required for registration from 40,000 to 500 in a bid to liberalize the legislation regulating the creation and operation of political parties. The draft law is part of the presidential political reform plan.
The draft law requires a party to have at least 500 members (now at least 40,000) and abolishes membership requirements for regional branches that have to be created in at least half of Russian regions.
Pligin said the requirement of 500 members is not subject to correction and has not raised any strong objections. The members of the working group are unanimous in that the registration of political parties must be “as transparent and accurate as possible”.
Pligin said his committee has suggested holding Duma hearings on direct gubernatorial elections on April 9 and on new Duma election rules on April 16.