Meeting with leaders of political parties 2012-02-15 16:00:00 Gorki, Moscow Region Dmitry Medvedev met with the leaders of the seven officially registered political parties: United Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), A Just Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Yabloko, Patriots of Russia, and Right Cause. Taking part in the meeting were Chairman of the United Russia Supreme Council Boris Gryzlov, Secretary of the United Russia General Council Presidium and State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov, Chairman of the CPRF Central Committee and head of the CPRF faction in the State Duma Gennady Zyuganov, First Deputy Chairman of the CPRF Central Committee and First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov, Chairman of the Council of A Just Russia Deputies and head of the A Just Russia faction in the State Duma Sergei Mironov, Chairman of A Just Russia and Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Nikolai Levichev, Chairman of LDPR and head of the LDPR faction in the State Duma Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the LDPR Supreme Council and Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Igor Lebedev, Chairman of Yabloko Sergei Mitrokhin, member of the Yabloko Political Committee Sergei Ivanenko, Chairman of Patriots of Russia Gennady Semigin and his deputy, Nadezhda Korneyeva, Acting Chairman of Right Cause Andrei Dunayev, member of the Right Cause Political Council Vyacheslav Maratkanov, and First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin. The meeting participants generally supported the package of draft laws on political reform submitted by the President. At the same time, party leaders suggested their own amendments to the President’s legislative initiatives. Dmitry Medvedev suggested setting a working group to review these amendments, which would include representatives from both registered parties and political forces that are seeking registration. The working group is to be headed by First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Vyacheslav Volodin. The meeting participants also assessed the current political situation in the country, particularly the Presidential election campaign. * * * President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, There is a specific purpose to our meeting today and so it will be shorter. Of course, we will continue the kind of consultations we have been holding regularly over these last years. I want to discuss political reform with you today, that is to say, I want to discuss the draft laws I submitted to the parliament at the end of last year and start of this year. The State Duma is set to begin most active work on these matters very shortly. I have already held quite a number of consultations on these draft laws with experts and civil society representatives, and with the people working on the open government project and communication with civil society. Now I am meeting with you, the leaders of Russia’s all political parties, and next week I will meet with those among your colleagues who want to establish political parties but have not done so yet. They will most likely get this possibility once the draft law goes through. I will discuss these same issues with them. We can discuss other matters too of course, but let’s make this issue our main focus today. The draft laws that I submitted aim at developing our country’s democratic institutions. This is something I have spoken about many times. I think our country has a young and growing democracy, a democracy certainly not without its problems, but a democracy nonetheless, with all the attributes required, though it still needs improvement. This was precisely why I decided to submit this package of draft laws aimed at reforming our political system. As I have said to you all in the past, our political system requires greater attention now – I have been working on this for these last four years — and also more space to breathe within the political system itself. We need this in order to modernise it and make our people confident that the political system takes notice of their demands, respects them, and gives them the chance to make full use of their political rights. This was why I submitted the draft law simplifying the procedures for registering political parties, lowering the number of signatures required to be eligible to take part in this or that event, and in some cases cancelling the requirement to collect signatures in order to take part in elections, and the draft law on the new procedures for vesting powers in regional governors – the draft law on direct elections of governors by the region’s people, in other words. I want to inform you too, colleagues, that straight after our meeting today, I will send to the State Duma the draft law on procedures for the State Duma’s election. In other words, you will have the texts of all these draft laws that the State Duma is set to examine, and will be able to assess them for yourselves and work out your factions’ positions. The other political parties will be involved in this too. I hope that this will ultimately help us to create a more modern, open and competitive political system in Russia. Let’s begin work.