Putin against ‘filters’ for small parties in elections

Putin against ‘filters’ for small parties in elections
President Vladimir Putin has spoken against initiatives aimed at limiting the participation of new, small, political parties in Russia’s federal elections.

“I don’t want to introduce any regulations that would restrict citizens’ access to ruling the country,” Putin stated at the meeting with the leaders of Russian parliamentary factions on Wednesday. 

During the gathering, the leaders of the Communist and Liberal-Democrat parties suggested that additional requirements should be met by political parties taking part in State Duma and presidential elections.

Their proposals included raising the minimum required number of party members, or setting the minimum number of signatures needed for a party to register in a race at 200,000. 

And 90 per cent [of parties] will fail to get through this filter,” Liberal-Democrat party leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky believes.

Putin argued though that there is no need to create “artificial filters.”

I wouldn’t want to simply cut everyone off,” the president empathized. 

In any case, small parties will not be elected anywhere “unless they prove their efficiency,” he noted. At the same time, well-known political parties who have a strong supporter base have an “obvious competitive advantage” in elections, Putin observed.

Russia’s political system should be absolutely transparent, flexible and democratic, the head of state believes. At the same time, he agreed with the MPs that it should also be efficient and stable.

Last year, as part a large political reform, Russia passed a law that significantly simplified the procedure of registration for political parties. As a result, the number of officially registered parties that have legal rights and can take part in elections has rocketed from only seven to over 65. One technicality already highlighted is that such a number of participants could make the ballot paper over 1.5 meters long.