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Russia goes for mixed electoral system
January 9, 2013, 11:56 am

the Lower House of the Russian state Duma. [AP]

the Lower House of the Russian state Duma. [AP]

Vladimir Putin asked the Central Elections Commission to prepare a draft law on a mixed electoral system for State Duma elections, due to be submitted by March 1.

Under the new electoral law, half of the lower house deputies will be elected on the basis of party lists, and the other half, in single-seat constituencies.

Currently, deputies are elected to the Duma on the basis of party lists only.

“Putin’s idea to amend parliamentary election laws is a continuation of political reform since last year’s presidential election.

“The draft law will encourage development of the current parties in parliament and new parties to come into existence. Also, this demonstrates that the ruling political establishment is truly interested in the opinions on the grass roots,” – says Peter Lavelle, host of CrossTalk at RT.

Vladimir Putin first mentioned the idea in his state-of-the-nation address on December 12, 2012.

The move fully rejects the introduction of a complex proportional system dividing the country into 225 double-seat mandatory districts–an idea introduced by Dmitry Medvedev a year ago when he was still the President.

Both experts and lawyers deemed “System 225” too complicated.

However, the bill was passed in the first reading but postponed for around a year – Putin’s new idea entirely rejects Medvedev’s initiative.

The bill also has an article on election blocs with differentiated threshold, which many see as the moment of truth for the opposition.

The mixed electoral system was in effect until 2005, but was abolished to consolidate the multi-party system in Russia.

Daria Chernyshova