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    Budget financing for political parties in Russia could increase dramatically

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    MOSCOW, July 12 (RIA Novosti) - New electoral legislation in Russia could mean a dramatic increase in budget allocations for political parties, the country's leading election official said Tuesday.

    If it is approved by parliament, a bill on elections will increase by 10 times state financing for political parties that win 3% of the vote in parliamentary elections.

    Alexander Veshnyakov, the chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), told a news conference that if the new election law came into force in 2006, political parties would get 269 million rubles ($9.37 million) overall from the state budget.

    Veshnyakov said if a party had previously received 50 kopeks per vote, the figure could soon go up to five rubles.

    According to his calculations, United Russia, which is known as the party of power, will receive 113 million rubles ($3.94 million), and its main opponent, the Communist Party, will get 38 million rubles ($1.32 million). The left-wing patriotic bloc Homeland, which was the third biggest faction in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, before it split, will get 37 million rubles ($1.29 million).

    Veshnyakov said the CEC would be able to oversee the parties' financial activities if the bill was passed. He said the commission would check political parties' annual and quarterly financial statements.

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