MOSCOW, January 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The Moscow city election commission on Thursday has officially turned down an initiative, put forward by the A Just Russia party, to hold a referendum on paid parking lots in the city center. The proposal was turned down because no signatures in support of the referendum had been submitted by January 19, which was the deadline, said the commission's spokeswoman Rima Kuznetsova.
Earlier, volunteers had contributed around 615,000 rubles to the Savings Bank in support of the referendum.
All in all, a total of 142, 500 signatures in support of the referendum were collected, spokesman for the A Just Russia Moscow department Ilya Sviridov said earlier.
Leader of the A Just Russia party Sergei Mironov said that on January 18 he decided not to submit the signatures to the Moscow election commission because many of the signatures were falsified. Dozens of thousand of false signatures were found during two-day checks, Mironov said. "We realize that even if we submit the signatures short of the required number the referendum will not be held all the same," Mironov said.
On December 18, 2013 the Moscow city Duma unanimously approved the idea of the referendum. An initiative group set up to organize the referendum was instructed to collect the necessary number of signatures within 30 days.
The Moscow government established paid parking lots within the boulevard ring in Moscow last June. Until December 5 cars owners had been charged 50 roubles per hour; afterwards, the parking rates went up to 80 roubles per hour. On December 25 the zone of paid parking was enlarged as far the Garden Ring. Drivers who park their cars in the zone between the boulevard ring and the Garden Ring have been charged 60 roubles per hour.