Less is more: Russia reduces electoral threshold

Russian MPs have voted to make life easier for their successors in the 2016 Duma elections by lowering the share of the vote needed to win seats.

Starting from 2016, the electoral threshold will be reduced from the current seven per cent to five per cent.

The president’s representative in the parliament, Garry Minkh, explained the “delay” by the need to develop legislation for “small parties.”

In December 2011, the seven-per-cent threshold will stand, but parties that gain five to six per cent will get one deputy seat, while those with more than six per cent will have two mandates.

The bill was originally submitted by President Dmitry Medvedev, who pointed out that changes to the electoral legislation were long overdue and that Russia clearly needs more political competition. The State Duma, he said, “must represent the whole political spectrum.”

The five-per-cent threshold will be a return to the norms that existed in the period from 1993 to 2003. The current seven-per-cent threshold was introduced at the time of Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

Back then, the change was explained by the fact that the political landscape was made up of more than 150 political forces, so the raised barrier allowed to stimulate the process of enlargement and structuring of political parties.

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