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Putin Urges Mandatory Primaries

MOSCOW, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he wants legislative amendments to introduce primaries for all political parties.

“I would like to ask you to consider and discuss with your colleagues from other political parties ways of making such preliminary elections a legally binding norm,” Putin told a meeting of the All-Russia People’s Front coordinating council.

The ARPF, created by Putin in May to broaden his ruling United Russia party’s electoral base, has been holding primaries to select candidates for the party’s campaign for the December State Duma elections, RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

The ARPF has attempted broaden the party’s electoral base with “non-party people,” including trade unions, non-governmental organizations, business associations and youth groups.

Putin urged mandatory party primaries not only at the federal level but also in regional elections, ITAR-Tass reported.

Some analysts have seen Putin’s move as a bid to boost his party’s flagging popularity and forestall a potentially damaging poor showing in the upcoming elections.

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