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As you know, the new status of electoral associations as political public associations was established by the Federal Laws «On Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right of Citizens of the Russian Federation to Participate in a Referendum» and «On Public Associations.»
The new definition of the concept «electoral association» is contained in Article 12 of the new Federal Law. The same article establishes the following restrictions: electoral associations wishing to participate in the elections of deputies to the State Duma must be registered with the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation or introduce appropriate amendments in their charters not later than 19 December 1998; a political public association which is a founder, member or participant of another association participating in the elections as an electoral association or within an electoral bloc is not allowed independently to nominate lists of candidates or take part in the formation of an electoral bloc in these elections.
Article 33 of the Federal Law establishes the status as well as the rules for the formation and registration of an electoral bloc which has all the rights of an electoral association during the election campaign. It is important to stress that a decision to join an electoral bloc must be taken at a congress (conference) of each of the electoral associations ready to form this alliance. And only after that the appropriate joint decision must be signed by the representatives of all electoral associations which joined the bloc.
The Central Election Commission will register the electoral bloc after an authorized representative of the bloc files the necessary documents (Clause 3 of Article 33) with the Commission. When carrying out registration of the electoral bloc the Commission may consider the documents submitted by the bloc for certification of a list of candidates nominated in single-mandate electoral districts and a federal list of candidates (Clause 6 of Article 40).
A number of special requirements to the activity of electoral blocs are set forth in a memorandum of the Central Election Commission «On Some Matters Concerning Formation and Functioning of Electoral Blocs in the Election of Deputies to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation» circulated to the heads of All-Russian political associations. This memorandum has been given to all participants in this meeting.
For the first time the new Federal Law addresses the problem of a name of an electoral association, electoral bloc, which is dealt with in a separate article of the law (Article 34). The law-maker had to pay special attention to this problem because in regional elections held in some subjects of the Russian Federation several electoral associations used the names of well known political parties and movements.
Under this article of the Law an electoral association must inform the Central Election Commission about its full and brief name, which must correspond to the name indicated in the registered charter.
Stricter requirements are also set to names of electoral blocs: These names may be determined only at a congress (conference) of representatives of electoral associations which have formed the bloc. The name of a bloc must not use the name of an electoral association which has not joined the given electoral bloc; a name used by the electoral bloc in the previous parliamentary elections, unless the bloc comprises more than a half of electoral associations which formed the given bloc in the previous elections; the first and the last name of a natural person without a written consent of the person (Clause 2, Article 34 of the Law.)
An electoral association. electoral bloc must agree with the Central Election Commission its brief name consisting of not more than seven words and its emblem, which are then to be used in electoral documents, including ballots (Clause 3 Article 34 of the Law).
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