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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon,
First of all, colleagues, I want to welcome you and congratulate you on the May 1 holiday, which has just passed, and on the upcoming Victory Day holiday. This is indeed the great celebration that unites us all, no matter what the political preferences and values we hold to.
I have invited you today above all in order to thank you for the work we have carried out together over these last four years. The State Duma has passed more than 200 presidential laws over this time. Not all of you here supported them all, but your criticism helped to produce a constructive position that enabled us to pass clearer and better drafted laws.
Whatever the differences we may have had, in the main we have worked together, in the social and economic sector, fighting the crisis, fighting corruption – which we all agree is an evil that requires our common effort to vanquish – and also working on our country’s political development, on the political transformations that I have undertaken over my four years as President, starting in May 2008 and ending with the recently passed big political reform package.
I want to inform you that I have just signed the law on gubernatorial elections. This law will enter into force and from then on all regional heads will be elected by the region’s people through equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.
I have also signed the law freeing political parties from the need to collect signatures except in the sole case of the presidential elections. In this case too, as you know, since it was you who passed the law, the number of signatures required for taking part in presidential elections has been lowered significantly, and this will help to make political life more interesting. We will all take part in this political life in one way or another.
The State Duma is due to meet on May 8 on the matter of forming the new Government. If I receive the State Duma’s trust and it gives me its mandate, I will continue to work with you all, though perhaps in a somewhat different format. But we will still have plenty of different opportunities to continue our work together, and I am ready to meet at various levels and on various different matters.
Once more, I thank you sincerely for all our discussions over these last four years, for explaining things and listening to each other, and for all the work accomplished.