Rules for New Parties Get Preliminary OK

From Times Wire Reports

Russia’s parliament gave preliminary approval to new restrictions on setting up political parties -- a key element of President Vladimir V. Putin’s proposed revisions to the political system.

The Kremlin says the changes will make Russia’s democracy more stable. But Putin’s opponents contend he aims to boost his own power.

The bill, approved on its first reading, would require political parties to have 50,000 members across Russia to run in parliamentary polls -- five times the current number.