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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament to Give Putin More Power

The State Duma on Friday gave initial approval to legislation that gives President Vladimir Putin the right to suspend governors and mayors accused of crimes, regardless of the offense.

The legislation, passed 419-0 in a first reading, is the latest in a series of initiatives that apparently tighten the Kremlin's grip on the country's political life.

The bill will allow the president to suspend governors and mayors after receiving incriminatory materials from prosecutors and before any formal charges are filed. Under current law, they can be suspended only if charged with violent crimes.

The Kremlin's Duma envoy said the bill, which will likely be passed by both houses of the parliament and signed into law, will help prevent terrorism.

In recent years, the Duma, dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, has passed a raft of Kremlin-proposed bills that have radically changed how officials are elected in Russia.