Putin submits election reform bill

March 1, 2013 at 11:19 AM
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MOSCOW, March 1 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday proposed allowing candidates to run directly for parliament and change the lower chamber's makeup, the Kremlin said.

Putin's bill would see an equal split in the 450-seat Duma between directly elected legislators and those from party lists, RIA Novosti reported.

Under provisions of the bill, candidates seeking direct election to the Duma would be required to present signatures supporting their bid from 0.5 percent of potential voters in their electoral district, less than the current 0.7 percent, RIA Novosti said.

Candidates would be allowed to seek office simultaneously in direct elections and through the party list track. The bill, however, would bar parties from forming electoral blocs, which analysts said is a blow to smaller parties that typically can't mount a nationwide election because of a lack of funds.

Electoral reforms introduced by Putin in 2003 and 2004 ended voting for individual candidates, leaving the post of president as the only individually elected directly by voters on a federal level.

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