Dwarf laws for dwarf parties

Two federal laws announced as a helping hand for small political parties - in the Russian context this means the opposition parties - come into force on 26th May. The acts are deemed to secure representation of the ‘dwarf’ parties in the Russian Parliament and to give them access to state media resources. This is another step in the President’s program of reforming Russia’s political system, as announced in his speech to parliament on November 5, 2008.

The laws ‘On changing certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation in connection with increasing voter representation in the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation’ and ‘On guarantees for the equality of parliamentary parties in state television and radio broadcasting coverage of their activity - giving general access’ were adopted by the State Duma on April 24 and approved by the Federation Council on April 29, 2009.

if all opposition parties unite they might be able to get 1 or 2 seats in the Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament.
 

As Russian law stands at the moment, political parties that do not reach the threshold of 7% of all votes at the elections do not have seats in the State Duma, the Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament. According to the new law, several seats will be given to political parties that gain between 5% and 7% of votes. As many as 2 seats will go to the political parties that gain more than 6% but less than 7% of votes, and 1 seat - to those with a result of 5% - 6%.

This generous proposal means that if all opposition parties, firstly, Yabloko and Union of Right Forces, unite – and this has never happened before – they might be able to get 1 or 2 of the 250 seats in the Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament.

Before the reform of 2007 half the seats in the Duma were distributed to independent candidates. In 2003, for instance, 100 seats were won by independents or minor party candidates. In 2007 the ‘single-member’ districts were abolished and the threshold was raised from 5 to 7 percent. Essentially, the reform has excluded opposition from parliament.

The second law establishes that parties represented in parliament must be granted equal access to the state-owned media.

 

May 25, 2009.

 

 

Two federal laws, announced as a helping hand for small political parties - in the Russian context this means the opposition parties - come into force on 26th May.
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