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Russia: Candidate Putin Calls For Strengthening Democracy

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called for more direct democracy in Russia in another article outlining his presidential campaign platform.

In an article in the "Kommersant" newspaper, Putin backs direct municipal elections and local-level referendums, and pledges to introduce in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, draft measures to develop Russia's "political and party system."

Putin wrote: "Society today is completely different from what it was in the early 2000s."

Putin, who served two presidential terms between 2000 and 2008, is seeking a third term in the March 4 election.

In 2004, Putin eliminated the direct election of regional governors, eliminated direct representation of voters in the national legislature, made it more difficult for independent candidates and small parties to gain representation in local legislatures, and tightened requirements for conducting referendums.

On February 4, tens of thousands of people rallied in central Moscow to demand an end to Putin's rule following disputed parliamentary elections in December.
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