Medvedev proposes sweeping political reforms
President Dmitry Medvedev proposed on Thursday a sweeping reform of Russia's political system, including direct elections for regional governors and easing registration rules for political parties, RIA Novosti reported.
"I propose a comprehensive reform of our political system," Medvedev said in his final state-of-the-nation address before he steps down next year.
Direct governor elections were scrapped by then-President Putin in 2004.
Medvedev also proposed a drastic simplification of the rules governing the registration of political parties, as well as an electoral system of proportional representation in the lower house of parliament.
In a further softening of election registration rules, Medvedev proposed cutting the number of signatures necessary for the registration of independent presidential candidates from the current two million to 300,000. Candidates nominated by parties that lack parliamentary representation will have to gather 100,000 signatures.
Medvedev's proposals come after mass demonstrations in Moscow and other cities against alleged electoral fraud in favor of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's United Russia party at the December 4 parliamentary polls. Tens of thousands of people are expected to participate in a new rally in Moscow on Saturday.