Bill to Cut Number of Political Parties Advances

From Times Wire Reports

A bill that would slash the number of political parties and increase their dependence on the government was approved by the lower house of parliament.

Critics say the bill is designed to give President Vladimir V. Putin control over the nation's politics. It would also make parties largely dependent on government financing.

But Putin says the new rules would lead to the creation of a few, strong parties, replacing the current cacophony of the more than 200.

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