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    RODINA FACTION CALLS FOR DUMA REFORM

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 9-RIA NOVOSTI. The Duma's Rodina faction insists on discussing its Duma reform offer next Friday despite the sceptical attitude toward this initiative by a Duma majority of the United Russia party.

    "We are not pressing: there are several days for reflection before the next Friday when we'd like to have this theme high on the agenda," said the Rodina faction head Vice-Speaker Rogozin at a press-conference on April 9. The Rodina-suggested change in the Duma structure provides for more than halving the current number of Duma committees with the establishment of a new one-that on veteran matters.

    Rogozin believes that the United Russia party should support Rodina's idea of optimizing the Duma structure after the pattern of government reshuffle in accordance with the administrative reform.

    He also reported that Rodina, inspired by the victory of its candidate at governor elections in Ryazan, Central federal district, wants to see its nominees running at all regional polls to be staged this year in Russia.

    After General Georgy Shpak, commander-in-chief of the airborne troops, who topped the Rodina list at the Duma elections, was elected governor of the Ryazan region on March 28, Rogozin believes Rodina's chances in the Ulyanovsk and Volgograd regions are very high.

    "The provinces are very enthusiastic about the new force upholding patriotic interests," claims Rogozin.

    The Rodina faction with merely 38 mandates of the 450 total in the State Duma is to expand its influence with support of the provinces, said Rogozin.

    According to Rogozin, many Federation jurisdictions, that is their legislative assemblies and governors, are prepared to sign agreements whereby Rodina is to represent their interests in the State Duma-such draft documents have been prepared with Krasnodar and Krasnoyarsk territories, Udmurtia, Komi, Voronezh and Volgograd regions.

    Rogozin also announced Rodina's opposition status in the State Duma.

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