Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#3 - JRL 7213
Russian parliament brings vote date forward

MOSCOW, June 6 (Reuters) - Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament voted on Friday to bring legislative elections forward by one week to December 7 over concerns a public holiday would keep voters away from the polls.

Changing the polling day to avoid Russia's December 12 Constitution Day holiday will also wedge a bigger gap between the parliamentary vote and the presidential electoral campaign, due to begin in mid-December.

Presidential elections are expected in spring 2004, but no date has been set.

Some 300 deputies in the 450-seat Duma, broadly favourable to the Kremlin, voted in favour of the motion.

Russia's last legislative elections were held in December 1999 and handed pro-Kremlin parties a majority in the lower house. The Communist Party remains the largest single group in the assembly.

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