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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CEC Proposes Specific Dates for Next National Elections

The Central Elections Commission has proposed dates for the next parliamentary and presidential elections, among a series of measures meant to bring election law into line with other federal laws.

CEC chief Alexander Veshnyakov told reporters on Friday the next election to the State Duma should take place on Dec. 14, 2003, according to legislation on parliamentary elections introduced to the Duma by President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"We spent a long time preparing the bill," he said. "It significantly changes the laws that governed [parliamentary elections] in 1993, 1995 and 1999."

A bill on presidential elections -- which would set the next election on March 14, 2004 -- will be sent to parliament in two weeks, Veshnyakov said.

According to the initiatives, elections should be held the second Sunday of the month in which the mandates of the elected representatives expire.

The legislation on Duma elections also proposes reducing the time candidates are allowed to campaign ahead of elections from five months to 110 days, or roughly 3 1/2 months.

The legislation envisages maintaining the current proportional voting system, in which half the Duma's 450 deputies are elected on party lists and the rest in single-mandate districts. But the bill proposes dividing party lists in half.

The first "federal" part would consist of priority candidates -- essentially, anyone a party wants on its list. The second "regional" half would have to be split into at least seven groups, each representing a different region. The measure would thereby guarantee a certain degree of regional representation among parties in the Duma.

The CEC would have to post the information it gathers on parties and individual candidates on the Internet. "That's part of ensuring public control over the elections," Veshnyakov said.

The CEC penned the bill on Duma elections based on the recommendations of a presidential working group. Veshnyakov said he hoped the bill would be passed by the end of the year.