A handful of young Yabloko supporters, wearing
red wigs in a nod to Chubais and carrying boxes reading "Alms
for reform," protesting the UES bills at the Duma on Wednesday.
Pro-Kremlin lawmakers have drawn up a bill raising the minimal
of votes that parties need to be elected to the State Duma, a
could prevent Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces from winning
next year's elections.
Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky
other politicians immediately slammed the proposal.
Unity and Fatherland-All Russia presented an amendment to the
elections in the Duma on Tuesday that raises the vote threshold
percent to 7 percent.
The bill could be put on the Duma's agenda this fall, Interfax
citing a Fatherland source.
Unity and Fatherland-All Russia, which merged into the United
party earlier this year but are represented as separate factions
Duma, had earlier considered increasing the barrier to 12.5 percent.
In the last Duma elections in 1999, Yabloko and the Union of
Forces, or SPS, squeaked past the minimal barrier, winning 5.93
8.52 percent, respectively. Recent polls have suggested that neither
would get more than 7 percent in the December 2003 election.
Yavlinsky said the United Russia initiative would create a Duma
pro-Kremlin lawmakers and Communists.
Seleznyov dismissed the proposal as "odd and ridiculous"
that such a change would lead to the revival of the one-party
"It looks like that is what they are aiming for,"
he was quoted by
Itar-Tass as saying. "One party would sit in the parliament
and would form
the Cabinet and the country's home and foreign policies."
Vladislav Surkov, the deputy head of the presidential administration,
called the bill unacceptable.
"The issue of raising the barrier required to make it into
Duma can be discussed and is being discussed, but radical proposals
United Russia are simply unacceptable," he said.
Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov also condemned the
a lawyer, I think the legislation cannot be changed for a certain
party, politician or political situation," he told Interfax.
Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected political analyst, said the
initiative might ending up doing United Russia more harm than
"This is a grave political mistake," he said. "Coming
pro-Kremlin factions, the West will view the initiative as an
Putin to throw Yabloko and SPS out of the parliament."
the original at www.themoscowtimes.com
of Grigory Yavlinsky to the NTV channel, "Segodnya Vecherom" programme,
October 7, 2002