Putin Signs Law Allowing Regions to Cancel Governor Polls

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

MOSCOW, April 2 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that allows regions to decide whether they want to elect a governor by a direct popular vote or let regional legislatures choose them from nominees approved by the president.

The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament whose members initiated the bill, passed it on March 22. The bill was approved by the upper house of parliament five days later.

Under the law, if a region opts against a popular vote, then each party in the regional legislature will be entitled to nominate up to three candidates for presidential approval. Before the nomination, would-be governors must close all their accounts in foreign banks and sell foreign securities if they have any.

Parties must also provide detailed information about the incomes of their candidates, including those of family members.

The president will then pick three candidates from the list, and regional lawmakers will choose one of them as a new governor.

Direct gubernatorial elections in Russia were reinstated in 2012, after being suspended by President Vladimir Putin in 2004 on what he said were national security grounds and replaced by a system of presidential appointment.

In October 2012, elections for governor posts were held in several Russian regions.