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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Sets Electoral Reform in Motion

President Vladimir Putin put his sweeping political reform in motion Monday, sending a bill on changing the nation's electoral system to the State Duma.

The motion would abolish popular elections of regional leaders, who instead would be nominated by the president and confirmed by local legislatures -- a move critics said would further strengthen an authoritarian streak in the Kremlin's policy.

Speaking at a Cabinet session Monday, Putin said he would submit the bill to the Duma later in the day.

With the Kremlin-directed United Russia party having more than 300 seats in the 450-seat Duma, the house is expected to rubber-stamp the proposal quickly.

Duma Deputy Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Monday that deputies would "immediately start working on the bill," which he called a "timely and necessary" measure to strengthen the government, Itar-Tass reported.