Duma election campaign starts officially in Russia

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Moscow, Nov 3 (UNI) The campaign for the election of the Duma, the lower house of parliament, officially kicked off today in print media, on radio and television in Russia.

The parliamentary election for the 450-member lower house is scheduled for December 2.

Eleven political parties that have been registered to run for the State Duma, will be allowed to publish their campaign materials in the media to be paid for by party campaign funds, the spokesman for the Central Election Commission, Igor Borisov told Russian news agencies.

Ten parties also plan to take part in political debates. But the pro-Kremlin United Russia party has refused to participate in the debates.

Judging by relatively small sizes of election funds of the majority of the parties, far from all of them will use the paid advertising opportunities.

Under the law, only state broadcasting organisations must provide the free airtime. Among them are Channel One, Rossiya, TV Centre television channels and Radio Rossii, Radio Mayak and Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) radio.

Non-state television and radio companies work during elections only on a commercial basis. So far only the NTV television company has refused to air paid advertising of parties.

UNI

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