Duma centrists and right-wingers prepare amendments to law on referendum

Leaders of the centrist and right-wing factions of the State DumaVyacheslav Volodin (Fatherland-All Russia), Oleg Morozov (Regions ofRussia), Vladimir Pekhtin (Unity), Gennady Raykov (People's Deputy), BorisNemtsov (Union of Right Forces) and Sergey Ivanenko, deputy head of theYabloko faction, have submitted amendments to the federal law on referendumto the State Duma for consideration, the press service of the lower houseof the Russian parliament told RosBusinessConsulting.The document envisages a ban on conducting federal referendums duringfederal election campaigns and during the last year of the State Duma andthe President's period of office.The amendments aim at "preventing the overlapping of agitation periodsduring preparations for elections to the federal state agencies" withfederal referendums, as "it may lead to a considerable distortion ofself-determination of citizens of the Russian Federation". The authors ofthe document refer to the position of the Constitutional Court of theRussian Federation, according to which "every form of direct democracy hasits own mission in the system of democracy and the implementation of one ofthem must not hinder the implementation of others".Recently, communists have started carrying out a campaign for conducting anational referendum concerning such questions as the selling and buying oflands, introduction of the death penalty for severe crimes and some otherissues..

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