Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Putin Wants to Strip Voting Rights

Putin wants to strip Russians of voting right
Straits Times | September 28 2004

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin, seeking to overturn post-Soviet institutions, is about to submit a draft law to scrap Russians' right to elect regional leaders, a senior parliamentarian said yesterday.

The reform is part of Mr Putin's plan to bolster central authority after a militant attack in Beslan left more than 320 hostages died.

'The law will be sent to the Duma's council today or tomorrow,' said deputy Vyacheslav Volodin of the United Russia party.

The draft calls for governors to be appointed by the president.

But opinion polls showed it was widely unpopular. Critics described the change as a cynical power-grab exploiting the Beslan tragedy to increase Kremlin power.