SUMMARY: RUSSIAN PRESIDENT MEETS PARLIAMENTARY LEADERS

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MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to provide equal access to mass media for all political forces and to raise public sector wages by 50% within three years. At his meeting with senior parliamentarians in the Kremlin on Wednesday, the President recalled that his two latest addresses to the parliament should be viewed as a single long-term program of action. "The ideas and tasks set in the address are our common program of action," he said.

He confirmed the need to spell out in law the procedure of parliamentary investigations. "I have discussed it with the colleagues and understood that deputies approve of the initiative," he noted.

The task of strengthening the influence of parliamentary political parties and the representative power on the whole can and must be fulfilled within the current system of state power, the Russian leader said.

When speaking about the need to specify the new order of appointing Russian governors, he said that "a candidate for the position could be nominated from the party that wins regional elections."

This decision "may boost the party's weight and influence in society, to shift personnel issues to public politics and ensure a better coordination between local authorities," he believes.

In his opinion, different public views on the country's future are a normal thing for a democratic state.

Vladimir Putin promised parliamentarians to work with the state-run mass media to ensure that all political forces have an equal access to them.

"Preserving Russia's integrity and sovereignty, ensuring human rights and entailing growth of prosperity are the basic goals shared by all public political forces of the country," he emphasized. This provides a basis to look for decisions that will be acceptable for all political forces, he said.

The top priority for the authorities is to raise public sector wages, Putin said. Within three years they should grow by 50% regardless of the situation on global markets. At the same time, if the economic resources allow, the increase may even exceed the threshold, he added.

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