MOSCOW, March 23 (Itar-Tass) — The new version of the law on elections in the State Duma that President Dmitry Medvedev submitted in the parliament on February 16, does not suit either party, including United Russia. The participants of the debates, which United Russia organized, gave this assessment to the bill on Thursday. They created an open tribune venue for meetings with the opposition. The bill should be “revised cardinally” or turned down at all, the participants said.
Brief, but heated debates found immediately that the parliamentary parties are mostly indignant over the bill, the RBC daily said. A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov did not come for the meeting at all. A member of the CPRF faction in the State Duma Vladimir Kashin asked not to hurry with submitting such important vital laws. He proposed to shelve the document and do not recall about it for a long time and pledged to do all for this on behalf of the Communist Party. Vladimir Zhirinovsky called as an idiot those, who drafted the bill, actively convincing his colleagues that he does not mean Dmitry Medvedev.
The presidential bill contains several liberal novelties: cancels the signup campaign for the parties, simplifies the rules of funding and deprives the Central Elections Commission of the right to drop candidates from the elections over irregularities in the documents, the Kommersant daily recalled. The most substantial change is new rules to make up the party lists and distribute mandates. The president offers to cancel the so-called federal part of the party list. Now this is first ten candidates, who primarily get deputy mandates, if the party clears a 7% election hurdle according to the election results.
Other candidates, which are divided on regional parts of the party list (no less than 70 parts), get mandates depending on the result of the party at the elections in this concrete region. The president offers to each party to divide the party list in 225 regional parts with no more than four candidates in each of them. Meanwhile, the whole country is divided in 225 territorial entities. Only those parties, who gained more than five percent of votes (the election hurdle is seven percent now), can be elected in the State Duma. Candidates from each party, which achieved the best result in their territorial entity, will become deputies.
This is the distribution of seats that United Russia opposed. All parties, expect for United Russia, are surprised that Medvedev, who simplified drastically the party registration procedure, did not bring back to them the right to form pre-election blocs that was in effect before 2005. Irina Khakamada (one of the former leaders of the Rightwing Force Union) offered to the deputies “to change cardinally” the very essence of the bill, “shelving it for a long time”, or “create a precedent that Medvedev submitted the bill, but we do not agree with it.”
The author of the law, according to which the first State Duma was elected, Viktor Shenis, who is quoted by the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily, stated, “The bill does not permit blocs. This means that with the current number of parties the 1995 situation may recur. Then 43 parties were running in the elections, but only four of them cleared the election hurdle. The others gained 45% of votes, which were not taken into account. It is necessary to permit blocs and bring down the election hurdle to three percent. And it is needed to ban the so-called locomotives. If a well-know personality worked as the image of the party and then refused from the mandate, this mandate should be taken away from the party,” he underlined.