The speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament announced plans on Tuesday to set up a council for cooperation between the State Duma and non-parliamentary parties.
"In the nearest future, I will form the National Council of non-parliamentary parties and invite their representatives to take part in its activities," Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told reporters in Moscow.
Naryshkin said lawmakers "could not ignore" the increasing number of new parties, which have sprung up after former President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law a bill that simplified the procedure for registering parties earlier this year. Thirty-seven parties are currently registered with the Justice Ministry and are eligible to run in elections.
A host of recently registered parties contacted by RIA Novosti, including the socialist Party of Peace and Unity and the right-wing Civil Defense party, said they "would gladly join" in the new body.
"I think it's important for the development of political dialogue, and will eagerly accept this invitation," Peace and Unity chairwoman Sazhi Umalatova said.
The leader of the liberal Yabloko party, Sergei Mitrokhin, who said there was "nothing bad" in the plans, but warned that there would be "no point" to the council if it "hundreds of bogus and ambiguous parties" gain seats on it.
"If Naryshlin has the brain not to do that, then it might work," Mitrokhin said.
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