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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

“The debate will begin to exert real influence on the election”


President Putin signed a law requiring candidates for elections at all levels to participate in televised debates. The only exception is presidential elections, but this does not diminish the importance of the innovation. Because the debate will indeed lead to greater competitiveness and openness of elections, and the first time we will see this during the Duma election campaign.

Amendments to the election law were adopted by Parliament a week ago, and on Wednesday signed them and the President. Candidates, from Federal to municipal, are obliged to personally participate in televised debates – before they were able to submit proxies.

“The bound of the debate stems from the fact that “their candidate, citizens have the right to see before the election”

Now in case of absence of the candidate of his airtime to be redistributed among the other candidates. This innovation is important due to the approaching Duma elections, in which half of the deputies again as before zero, will be elected in single-mandate constituencies.

The new rule is in the spirit of course of the Kremlin to increase the competitiveness and openness of elections, it is not surprising that the author of the law became the Vice-speaker, Secretary of the General Council “United Russia” Sergei Neverov, as saying that the law is aimed at “improving the quality of public representation”.

The arguments of a former miner led simple. “Their candidate, citizens have the right to see before the election, not after, to get an idea of who they vote for, does the candidate the specifics of the territories, what he is a candidate, what moral and ethical convictions, he is guided”. Who would argue with the fact that “a politician must be able to defend their point of view”? No, but before binding of the debate was not that, of course, played into the hands of as already existing members of Parliament and holders of administrative resources.

Why the amendments are adopted now?

In fact, just this year, renewed election of half the Duma by single-mandate constituencies – up to two members of Parliament were chosen only by party lists. Last time on the mixed circuit of the state Duma elected in 2003 the political era ago. Now the Duma elections again be personalised, and voters increasingly will be guided by the personality of the candidate and not just his party affiliation.

In addition, in recent years, the Kremlin by all means adjusts of United Russia and local authorities on fair elections, effectively banning them “play” with numbers and resource. Not always succeed, but important attitude. Plays a role and General course on the political elites, nationalization, the intention to get the item to combine the civil service or MP business and lobbying of commercial interests – the achievement of all these essential goals can be achieved through greater openness of elections at all levels, which will be formed a real professional deputies.

The Kremlin does not want obedient and appointed deputies of city councils, legislative assemblies of the regions and the state Duma. On the contrary, is interested in this, just corrupt part of the elite that seeks to maintain its position at the levers of power and therefore are willing in any way to slow down the update process of the ruling nomenclature.

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