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NOVO-OGARYOVO, April 5 (Itar-Tass) - Russia stands in need of political competition, in the absence of which there can be no development either in the economy or in politics in today’s world, President Vladimir Putin said Friday in an interview with Germany’s broadcasting company ARD.
He gave the interview in the run-up to a trip to Hannover April 8.
“It’s simply impossible to work out efficient, correct and well-ground decisions in the absence of competition and that’s why we’re naturally seeking to put our society on the foundations of competition in all spheres of life, including the political sphere,” Putin said.
“This doesn’t mean however that the opposition forces should draw financing from abroad,” he said.
“There are certain rules that envision various forms of political activity,” Putin said. “Elections imply a public expression of one’s opinion. Also there are demonstrations.”
“We have law, albeit good or bad one and this law can be changed democratically, but anyway it should be observed,” he said.
As he mentioned the problem of activities of the political opposition, Putin called attention to the changes that have taken place in the legislation on political parties fairly recently.
While previously the registration of a political party would require the availability of 50,000 members of the organization, the current regulations require a mere 500 people so that a party could be registered and engage in legal political activity.
“A total of 37 parties have been registered here and as far as I know several dozen applications for registration have been filed,” Putin said. “We’ll continue moving along that way and developing political competition in that manner.”
Putin also underlined the changes that have taken place in the election of members of the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament. Now voters will elect Russian senators by secret balloting in the regions where they make permanent residence.
“Many politicians here believed we should revert to a mixed electoral system combining majority elections and the voting for party tickets and we’ve devised a pattern of this type,” he said. “We’re on the move and seeking the forms of political organization of our society that would stand in line with the demands and hopes of our people.”
“Quite naturally, this concerns our political parties, too,” he said.
As he summarized this issue, he said Russia has made an unambiguous choice in favor of democracy. The task at present is to work out the instruments that would enable the majority of Russians to influence the internal and foreign policy of the country - “the majority, I really mean it, and the one that respects the minority and takes account of its opinion.”
“If we place the entire edifice of our internal policy and our state institutes on these fundamental principles, then I think we’ll have an opportunity to state the success of democracy in Russia someday,” Putin said. “We realize perfectly well where we’re moving and we won’t turn away from this road.”