All regional and municipal elections in Russia will be taking place on the same day in September starting in 2013, according to a bill approved by the State Duma in the third and final reading on Tuesday.
Voting will be held on the second Sunday of the month, according to the bill, which has yet to be approved by the Federation Council and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
In the years of State Duma elections, which take place on the first Sunday of December, all regional and municipal voting will also be held on that day and not in the fall, the bill said. The next Duma elections will take place in 2016.
The legislation does not cover presidential elections, governed by a separate law and traditionally held in early March.
The new bill is set to come into force in November, which means the first elections under the new schedule will take place on September 8, 2013.
The bill was introduced in the Duma by the Liberal Democratic Party in 2011, but initially proposed late March for the voting day.
This was amended to early September because most voters will be back from their summer vacations by the time, said Duma lawmaker Konstantin Pligin, a member of the ruling United Russia, which supported the bill.
Pligin named no other shortcomings of voting in March, but his party comrade Andrei Isayev said earlier that weather conditions in remote northern regions, where freezing colds linger well into the spring, were also factored in during the bill’s review.
Several opposition lawmakers have criticized the bill during Duma hearings, saying that the election campaigning will now be taking place during the holiday season, which could discourage people from voting.