Russian President’s decree on elections to Duma takes effect

MOSCOW, August 30 (Itar-Tass) — Russian government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta has published a decree by President Dmitry Medvedev on appointing an election of a new convocation of deputies to the State Duma, the lower house of Russian parliament.

Medvedev, who signed the decree Monday, appointed the election for Sunday, December 4.

He signed the document at the Bocharov Ruchei presidential residence in Sochi where he held a conference with the leaders of seven registered political parties.

Tuesday, August 30, thus becomes the first day of an official election campaign.

One of the first demands Medvedev issued to the political parties was to stay away by all means from exploiting the problems of inter-ethnic relations in the course of the campaign.

“It’s important to rule out for sure the attempts to fan inter-ethnic strife because they are absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “Calls for unlawful actions are equally unacceptable.”

“That’s not a request on my part, that’s an absolute demand,” Medvedev said. “Such calls and attempts will be cut short in a most resolute way and the people purporting them will be punished.”

He voiced the hope that the composition of the Duma of the sixth convocation will reflect the broadest possible array of the Russians’ political preferences, outlooks, positions, and interests.

“The election will be held upon the rules that have been revised to a big degree, as really important changes have been introduced in legislation,” Medvedev said, adding that their objective is to move popular representation to a quality new level.

Among the novelties, he pointed out the extension of the MP’s powers from four to five years, a reduction in the number of voters’ signatures required for the out-of-parliament parties to get registered for the election, and the allocations of mandates to the parties that will get more than 5% votes but less than 7%.


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