19 Feb 2019 20:41

Easing 'municipal filter' to help boost political competition - Pamfilova

MOSCOW. Feb 19 (Interfax) - Reducing 'municipal filters' will encourage healthy competition at elections in Russia, Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chair Ella Pamfilova said.

"The most important thing is that the municipal filter [threshold] was reduced twofold - now it may not be higher than 5%. From now on, regions will have the opportunity to set it at a much lower level. This will help bolster competition. That is very important," Pamfilova told Interfax on Tuesday.

A working group on improving election laws set up under the presidential executive office met earlier on Tuesday. Igor Borisov, working group member and board chairman at Russian Election Law Institute, told Interfax that everyone including United Russia members reached a consensus at the meeting that the 'municipal filter' could be reduced twofold: from the current levels of 5-10% to 5%.

'Municipal filter' means a mandatory procedure which implies collecting signatures of 5% to 10% (depending on the region) of all members of local representative bodies in municipalities. The filter applies to anyone who wishes to be nominated as a gubernatorial candidate.

Experts have repeatedly criticized the procedure, arguing that it leaves room for possible abuses and administrative pressure.