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State Duma adopts in second reading addendums to law on political parties

March 21, 2012, 13:11 UTC+3

From 16 addendums recommended for adoption, Ostrovsky highlighted several “major amendments” to the initial bill

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MOSCOW, March 21 (Itar-Tass) —— On Tuesday, the State Duma adopted in the second reading the presidential addendums to the Law on Political Parties, which ease registration of political organizations. However, the opposition’s factions warned due to the radical lowering of the number of party members “clone-parties” may emerge and ruin the present political system.

The Kommersant writes that over the second reading a member of the committee for public assosiations and religious organizations Alexei Ostrovsky /LDPR/, who presented the bill, called it “a result of joint work” of deputies and representatives of parties, which have been or have not been registered by the Justice Ministry. From 16 addendums recommended for adoption, Ostrovsky highlighted several “major amendments” to the initial bill. First of all –the law will come into force from the moment of its publishing, and not on January 1, 2013, as it had been offered earlier. Another addendum was submitted together with Sergei Reshulsky of the Communist Party. It suggests not allowing the Justice Ministry refuse party registration without explaining the reasons. If the organizing committee of a party makes mistakes, the ministry is to “suspend” the procedure of registration and is to provide a “full list” of discrepancies and a three-month’ term for correcting the latter.

The revival of interest to party organization and registration was seen clearly as the presidential bill, which cuts by 80 times the requested membership from 40,000 to 500 was progressing at the State Duma, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. The second reading was on March 20, and the Justice Ministry has already received 69 applications from organizing committees for organization and registration. Opposing factions say that the minimum of 500 members introduced by the bill is too much. And during discussion of the addendums, they insisted on raising the minimum to at least 10,000 members.

“Why are we afraid of this figure – 500? Everyone in this hall is afraid,” the Kommersant quotes Sergei Reshulsky as saying. He explained there would be three kinds of parties: not only those organized on an “ideological basis” /like the existing ones/, but also “parties to sell mandates” and “werewolf parties, which will be managed by the authorities.” “The power will be organizing such parties to confuse the electorate and to split votes,” the communist said. But Alexei Ostrovsky said that for the working group, organized by the president, “the figure of 500 is principal.”

“Everyone is involved in a rush for a “red herring” thrown into the discussion field” – the heated discussion of required number of party members, Andrei Maiboroda of the Centre of Political Research said commenting on the situation to the Novye Izvestia. “However, the most important issues of notification order of party registration and of possible election blocs are outside the innovations. Thus, it is not possible to say the country’s political reforms are serious.” By autumn, we shall really be facing many “chickens to count”, but the political “hen house’s” leaders will remain the same,” the expert said.

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