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Election Campaign Starts in Russia

MOSCOW. Aug 30 (Interfax) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's decree addressing the December 4 parliamentary elections in the country was published in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper and came into force on Tuesday, officially giving the go-ahead to the election campaign.

Medvedev signed the abovementioned document at a meeting with the leaders of registered political parties in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday.

"I, as president and guarantor of the Constitution, can say that our state is prepared to hold this election, which is the subject of our meeting today," he said.

Election campaigns have always been accompanied by an upsurge of emotions, parties' struggle and complaints, the president said.

"But it is normal. This is the way it should be," he said.

"But I certainly would like everything to proceed in compliance with law, without any extremes. For us two things are unacceptable to an equal extent: the administrative arbitrariness of civil servants, who try to shape elections around their needs, and unproved accusations of vote-rigging, which can be heard from those who have lost quite frequently," Medvedev said, calling these circumstances instances of legal nihilism.

"I would very much like our next Duma to reflect the political preferences of the largest possible number of citizens," Medvedev told the Russian political party leaders.

"The elections will proceed largely in compliance with renewed rules. Significant changes have been made in the election law lately and efforts to perfect the political systems are continuing," Medvedev said.

Noting that the laws have been amended in various ways, Medvedev said, "additional guarantees have hopefully been created for a fair political competition."

"I think we have managed, jointly with the parliamentary majority, with all parties that participated in this over recent years, to enhance the quality of our democracy. But this does not mean we have done absolutely everything. Democracy has just become more up-to-date," he said.

Various positions always co-exist. "Some argue that these changes are cosmetic and insufficient, while others think no change at all would have been a much better option," he said.

"But we must work to create a more modern and more perfect democracy model. This is the task the state authority and political parties must accomplish. I hope the parliamentary elections will facilitate the attainment of this goal to the maximum. I wish success to all of you," Medvedev said.

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