A second session of the council of non-parliamentary parties set up at the initiative of State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin was held at the lower house on Tuesday. The session focused on the return to the elections to the State Duma on party lists and single-seat constituencies, as well as legalization of electoral blocs.
In his state-of-the-nation address in December 2012, President Vladimir Putin spoke about a need to get back to the mixed electoral system, the Novye Izvestia daily reminds its readers. After that the Central Election Commission engaged in drafting a bill on that. According to First Deputy Speaker Alexander Zhukov, the bill on the mixed electoral system will be submitted for Duma consideration in winter and will be passed under three readings before the end of the current spring session.
The issue of a possible reintroduction of electoral blocs after they were abolished in 2007, has been brought up more than once by representatives of some non-parliamentary parties, who marked that in conditions of a sharp increase in the number of parties only the possibility of setting up electoral blocs can give numerous non-parliamentary parties a chance to get seats in parliament.
Not only representatives from 27 non-parliamentary political parties having the right to participate in elections were invited to the meeting, but also representatives from all four parliamentary parties, the newspaper notes.
The Novye Izvestia writes that when the council of non-parliamentary parties was being set up at the Duma, it was stated that its activity must be mainly aimed at participation of non-parliamentary parties in lawmaking. However, co-chairman of the RPR-PARNAS party, Boris Nemtsov, believes these meetings are useless. “We consider this Duma illegitimate, that is why no matter what it discusses and what issues it brings up, it is senseless to discuss anything with it,” he said. “All the more as the present Duma does not make any decisions independently, as it is fully controlled from the Kremlin. Then why taking part in an imitation of a dialogue?” the politician commented on the developments.
Political analyst Pavel Salin agrees with this state of things. According to him, having a look at the list of non-parliamentary parties registered now, one can see that real changes are out of the question. “Practically all parties that are registered now are spoilers, and have nothing to do with the real opposition,” the expert is confident.
“And the council of non-parliamentary parties is one more instrument of control over the process of setting up new parties. This structure was created so that new parties don’t spiral out of control or drop out of sight of the authorities,” he said.
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta reminds the readers that in his state-of-the-nation address, President Vladimir Putin just gave a promise to think about blocs. Naryshkin’s council of non-parliamentary parties yesterday demonstrated that by all appearances the supporters of blocs are not the majority in the presidential administration. Some non-parliamentary structures yesterday spoke out against them.
Oleg Mitvol (Green Alliance-People’s Party) offered a fresh idea: it is possible to restrict the number of participants in elections and solve the problem of very long ballot papers without electoral blocs – it is enough to simply return the practice of election deposits, that can get back only to those who have received for example three and not five percent of the vote, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily writes. “So that the parties don’t regard the elections as a kind of a game,” he said.