Presidential Decree fixing State Duma election date comes into force

The Decree of the Russian president fixing the State Duma election date comes into force on Wednesday after it is published in Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Thus, the campaign for elections to the parliament's lower house has been officially launched.

The Russian president's press service told RIA Novosti that the decree fixed the election to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly on December 7, 2003.

The president signed the decree before meeting Tuesday with Alexander Veshnyakov, head of the Central Election Commission.

"I have signed the decree. Go ahead," Putin said at the meeting which was open for press.

"A big electoral campaign will start after the presidential decree is published," Veshnyakov said.

The work will be conducted along new guidelines, as the electoral fray will take place within the framework of new rules, he added.

The head of state noted that primarily the judicial system is authorised to supervise the campaign, but the Central Election Commission can also make signals.

"I hope the Central Election Commission will do its utmost to provide for legitimacy of the electoral campaign, for a normal competition free from dirt that appears as a rule during debates," the president told Veshnyakov.

"We know what dirty technologies are - imagining what wouldn't occur to a normal person, and letting it into federal TV channels and press," the president said.

Putin noted that "this does not add authority to the power or to this country in the world arena." For some people, electoral campaigns are "an effective way to earn money," Putin believes.

According to him, this is caused by legislative imperfection. The president hopes that efforts aimed at improving the legislation will be fruitful.

"The voters are interested in professionals coming to bodies of power, capable of realising their electoral promises," the president stressed.

"The financial aspect should be absolutely transparent and it is necessary for an voter to see the contest of opinions, views, forms and programmes instead of fighting between candidates," the head of state said.

According to Mr Veshnyakov, black PR was borrowed from other states and spread across Russia very soon. He said "the media are greatly responsible" for holding a fair election.

When asked by the president about how the new party law would work, Veshnyakov pointed out that the Justice Ministry had registered 44 political organisations allowed to take part in elections against 200 four years ago.

"Political formations have been consolidated," he said.

The parties and candidates that have decided to take part in the Duma election are obliged to report this to the electoral board.

Since the moment of publishing the presidential decree, the parties have the right to hold pre-electoral meetings to approve the lists of candidates in each federal district.

The electoral campaign in the media will be launched on November 7. It will last through December 5.

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