(May 6, 2009) On April 8, 2009, amendments to the Federal Law on Political Parties were passed in Russia. Proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, they are aimed, according to the accompanying explanatory statement, at strengthening citizens' influence on government authorities.
The amendments establish that the so-called small parties, which at the next national parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2012, most likely will not be able to overcome the seven-percent electoral threshold needed in order to be considered for the distribution of seats in the federal legislature, will be able to send delegates to the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Parliament). Parties that receive between five and six percent of the electoral vote will be permitted to send one delegate, and parties with more than six percent of the votes will have two representatives in the State Duma. Although these representatives will not have voting rights in the State Duma, they will be able to participate in discussions during plenary sessions and committee hearings. (Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Amendments to the Federal Law on Political Parties of the Russian Federation, ROSSIISKAIA GAZETA [government-owned daily newspaper, an official publication], http://www.rg.ru/2009/04/08/politpartii-dok.html (last visited May 4, 2009).)