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Medvedev proposes sweeping electoral reforms

Simplifying the registration of political parties and presidential candidates, and returning to direct voting to elect regional governors are among the key reforms proposed by President Medvedev in his annual address to Russia’s Federal Assembly.

Chief among them is a proposal to move to direct voting when electing regional governors.He said that all politically active citizens should be given the opportunity to participate in Russia’s political affairs.The Russian president also wants to simplify the process of registering political parties. Medvedev proposed abolishing the collection of signatures which has until now been obligatory for parties to register for election to the Russian State Duma and regional legislative assemblies.The number of signatures needed to nominate a candidate for the presidential elections from a party represented in parliament is to be reduced from two million to 300,000, the president said, while the number of signatures to endorse a presidential nomination from non-parliamentary parties should be reduced to 100,000.