Lawmakers of Ingushetia’s outgoing parliament voted for the first reading of a bill to ban alcohol sales in the predominantly Moslem Russian republic on Friday, the local government’s spokeswoman said.
Lawmakers said their decision sought to prevent traffic accidents and poisonings with poor quality alcohol.
“We will have to elect local and central parliament to begin with and then about two weeks later deputies of the new legislature will vote on the bill in the second and third readings,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the law would be most likely adopted.
The republic of Ingushetia will be electing members of the local and central legislatures and the federal Russian parliament on December 4 together with the rest of the country.
Alcohol sales in Ingushetia are presently allowed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
Media reports said Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov attended the parliamentary hearings on Friday and welcomed the bill as an important move. He called for tougher control over alcohol sales, saying products should be certified and retailers provided with licenses.
“Uncertified people in this business sell dodgy alcohol, which causes poisoning and leads to conflicts,” he said, adding that lawmakers would also have to decide on punishment for violators.
Yevkurov cited police statistics that alcohol intoxication was one of the main reasons behind traffic accidents.
“We are in a secular state and the republic’s population is made of a diversity of religions and ethnicities. We cannot stamp on people’s rights but we can somehow try to prevent the situation from running out of control,” he said.
In neighboring Moslem-dominated Chechnya, alcohol is sold just once a week from 8 to 10 a.m.