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Putin Presents New Election, Parliament Rules

Russia's Duma would be subject to Putin's changes Moscow, 14 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today presented a plan to reform parliament.

The plan includes changes in how the lower house of parliament would be elected and managed and on holding referendums.

Under the plan, all the 450 seats in the State Duma would be elected on a party-list basis. At present, half the seats are elected in individual constituencies.

The plan also prohibits the formation of party blocs.

The plan raises the state subsidies for parties that make it into the Duma six-fold to 600 million rubles (about $21.5 million) and makes it possible for party leaders to expel from the Duma any member who defects.

The plan allows for electronic voting and sets a single election date for the entire country -- the second Sunday of March.

The proposed changes are part of reforms Putin has been introducing reforms to the parliament that he says are designed to improve security after the deadly hostage-taking incident in Beslan last September.

(Reuters, RFE/RL's Russian Service)