Russian Duma to review filtering system for gubernatorial election candidates

The United Russia party, which holds the majority of seats in the State Duma, supports a proposal for revising "municipal filters" that candidates must pass through before gubernatorial elections and that members of other parties have described as a "raving mad" and "idiotic" system, the Kommersant daily said on Friday.

The Duma would take up the proposal after nationwide local elections on Oct. 14, the Kommersant daily said.

United Russia on the whole supports the proposal in looking for a way to minimize allegations that some potential candidates have been unfairly bared from elections, according to the paper.

"We are thinking how to limit the reserve of signatures to 10 percent as a cover from excessive initiatives on the part of some of the governors," Kommersant quoted a United Russia source as saying.

The source dismissed a surmise that one suggested reform was to allow members of municipal councils to put their signatures on the lobbying sheets of more than one candidate. "This would lead to the sale of signatures, and so we won't let this go ahead. By and large, the municipal filter has proved to be effective during elections," the source said.

However, the daily cited two members of parties controlling minorities of seats in the lower house of parliament as lashing out against the municipal filter system as such.

"After the elections we will demand the abolition of the municipal filters," a member of the Communist Party central committee, Sergei Obukhov, told Kommersant."It's raving mad - a party that is represented in parliament may put forward a candidate for president but not for governor without signature collection. The example of the Novgorod region shows that the governor can collect all the signatures in the region, and in the Bryansk region the verification process will be biased no matter how many you collect."

Kommersant explained that Obukhov\'s point about Bryansk was a reference to Vyacheslav Rudnikov of the A Just Russia party, who was not allowed to run because some of the signatures he had collected were declared invalid.

A Duma deputy representing the Liberal Democratic Party, Sergei Ivanov, in talking to Kommersant, called the municipal filter system "an idiotic procedure" and said he was "against it in general."

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