Medvedev Defends Political Reforms

MOSCOW, December 7 (RIA Novosti) – Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sought to defend on Friday the package of political reforms he introduced last year in response to the outburst of anti-Kremlin street protests.

He told journalists from several Russian television networks in a live interview he was “satisfied” with the reforms aimed at opening up the political system, adding whoever had not earlier noticed the need for reform was “dishonest.”

Among the reforms was the restoration of direct gubernatorial elections, which were suspended by President Vladimir Putin in 2004 on what he said were national security grounds following a deadly terrorist siege on a school in Russia’s North Caucasus. Elections for governor posts were held in several Russian regions in October.

“We received a system in which people, for the first time in eight years, can choose who will administer their region,” he said.

Medvedev also helped introduce new legislation earlier this year easing the registration process for political parties. Now, a party needs only 500 signatures to become registered, as opposed to the 40,000 previously.

He also spoke out against the term “non-systemic opposition” – currently applied to political parties and movements not currently in parliament – claiming it portrays registered political parties in a negative light.


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