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Putin Approves Constraints On Deputies, Parties --> A staircase in the State Duma (ITAR-TASS) July 13, 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that strips legislators of their seats in parliament if they switch parties and also prohibits parties from supporting candidates from other parties at elections.

Critics say the legislation is a Kremlin attempt to weaken the opposition.

It comes after parliament recently voted to remove the option of voting "against all" on ballots, which has allowed Russian voters to express their dissatisfaction with the political process.


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