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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Gives Nod to Bill Barring Party Jumping

The State Duma tentatively approved a United Russia-sponsored bill Wednesday that would bar deputies from switching parties and parties from including candidates with other political affiliations on their voting lists.

The bill sailed through its first reading 360 to 37, with two abstentions.

The bill also would forbid small parties from forging coalitions to win seats, a tactic used by liberals during Moscow City Duma elections in December.

In those elections, candidates from the Union of Right Forces and other parties ran under the Yabloko banner with an eye toward breaking through the 10 percent threshold and picking up seats in the City Duma.

"This bill is a further attempt by the powers that be to get rid of the opposition," Communist Deputy Alexei Kondaurov said.

While the Communist Party opposed the bill, the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party backed it.

Independent Deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov called the bill undemocratic. "This bill turns deputies into serfs," he said.

United Russia deputies said the bill would reinforce the political party system in the country while bringing more order to the parties themselves.

"Sometimes people decide to run with a particular party only because they have a better chance of getting elected," said Oleg Koyvalyov, a United Russia deputy and the chairman of the State Duma's Management Committee.