Medvedev signs new laws to improve election system

Dmitry Medvedev (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Rodionov)
The new legislation will minimize any potentialities for abuse during elections, and give new powers to political parties, the Russian president has said.

­One of the laws is intended to organize voting which takes place outside the polling stations, Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday at a meeting with members of the election commission. The new legislation takes into account the needs of people who cannot leave their homes, particularly disabled and elderly people.

The law determines the number of portable ballot boxes. Election committees will also have a limited number of “reserved” ballot papers for their mobile groups. The highest number of portable ballot boxes should be proportionate to the number of voters in a particular constituency.

Leaders of the opposition parties represented in the State Duma during their meetings with the president have always said the voting which took place outside of the polling stations made it possible for members of election commissions to rig the votes. However, the Central Election Commission has denied the accusations.  

Another law, approved by Medvedev, makes it possible for parties to nominate candidates for vacant seats in regional parliaments and municipal assemblies.

The president also signed a law approved by the parliamentary parties to introduce a standardized signup list at regional and local elections. This legislation clearly outlines the criteria by which signatures a party has collected could be deemed invalid. Medvedev said the law may considerably reduce the number of election violations.   

The president also told members of the election commission that the people’s confidence in the results of the vote and, as a result, in the authorities, would depend on their professionalism. “Parliamentary elections are always a serious, and sometimes tough, political struggle,” Medvedev noted.

Elections to the State Duma will take place in December. “This will be the most significant and large-scale election campaign in recent years,” Medvedev said. The electoral legislation has been considerably improved as of late, he stressed, adding that additional guarantees have been created for fair political competition.