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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Delays Debate Over Gazprom

The State Duma on Wednesday postponed the first reading of a bill to liberalize the shares of gas monopoly Gazprom to Dec. 7.

The liberalization of Gazprom shares, which foreigners are restricted from buying, is an eagerly awaited reform, which investors expect will boost the value of the world's largest gas company.

But Valery Yazev, chairman of the Duma's Energy, Transportation and Communications Committee, said the first reading might still go ahead on Friday, and that second and third readings could go ahead as planned on Dec. 9.

The first reading was postponed after opposition deputies said the bill needed further consideration, and other members agreed unanimously, voting 400-0 with two abstentions.

"The financial community wasn't included in the discussion of this issue," Communist deputy Nina Ostanina was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti.

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said nothing would stop the debate from going ahead in December.