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Kremlin Seeks Research on Foreign Electoral Systems

Although the tender hints at possible election reforms on the horizon, Vedomosti cited Yevgeny Kolyushin, a member of the Central Elections Commission, as saying the research may simply be used at seminars for members of parliament.

The Department of Presidential Affairs has announced a tender for research on the electoral systems of foreign countries in a potential bid to reform Russia's own electoral system, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Tuesday.

Citing a copy of the tender's technical requirements, Vedomosti reported that the president's advisers on domestic policy are interested in themes including the practice of limiting citizens' right to elect and to be elected "within the framework of democratic norms," various electoral systems and practices for uniting electoral blocs and international practice in regulating the activities of election monitors and campaigners.

Although the tender hints at possible election reforms on the horizon, Vedomosti cited Yevgeny Kolyushin, a member of the Central Elections Commission, as saying the research may simply be used at seminars for members of parliament.

"They change electoral legislation every five years, ahead of [each new round of] elections, so that no one manages to really grasp the rules of the game," Kolyushin said in comments carried by the business daily.  

The Kremlin is also reportedly seeking research on the influence of regional election laws on municipal governments, as well as on international practices in dividing authority between municipal and regional administrations.

This is not the first time the Kremlin has demonstrated an interest in research on electoral systems. The Kommersant newspaper reported in early June that the Department of Presidential Affairs had offered 46 million rubles ($1.3 million) for 36 different scientific studies on various aspects of electoral systems.

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