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Federation Council Passes Putin's Reform

8 December 2004 -- The upper chamber of Russia's parliament has approved President Vladimir Putin's plan to end the election of governors by popular vote.

The measure now goes to the Kremlin for Putin's signature.

It would give the president the right to appoint governors, who would then be confirmed by regional legislatures. The legislation has been criticized as a step back from democracy.

The Federation Council also approved legislation raising the bar for political parties to be registered from 10,000 members to 50,000.

The bill is expected to make it harder to register new political parties.