The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, on Tuesday approved a law easing registration procedure for political parties in its second reading.
The law was approved by 443 votes in the 450-seat legislature, reads the March 20 evening plenary session summary posted on the State Duma’s official website.
The new law on political parties will ease the party registration procedures, which includes cutting the minimum number of members for a single party from 40,000 to 500 people. It was approved by the State Duma in the first reading on February 28 along with other presidential initiatives to reform the political system in Russia.
The amendments are part of President Dmitry Medvedev’s political reforms, which also reintroduce direct elections for governors, scrapped in 2004 by then-President Vladimir Putin.
The first reading of a bill is a mere technicality, when lawmakers evaluate the draft’s general concept. The second reading is the most important stage for a bill in the State Duma because amendments can be introduced into the draft at that stage. During the third reading lawmakers make a decision on the final version.