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Nemtsov Proposes Limiting Presidency to One Term Only

CHEBOKSARY. Sept 1 (Interfax) - People's Freedom Party (PARNAS) Co-chairman Boris Nemtsov called for constitutional amendments that would prohibit a person from being re-elected for president. He also said that Russia should follow the Georgian example in fighting corruption.

"We propose to ban the second term of office for civil servants. Even a normal person eventually becomes self-important, impudent and indifferent and loses touch with reality before he transforms into a mere thief. So we propose to amend Article 18 of the Russian Constitution for banning the same person from being re-elected for president," he told reporters in Cheboksary (Chuvashia) on Wednesday.

PARNAS does not set the goal of reducing corruption in Russia to the corruption level in Denmark, Sweden or other Scandinavian states where no one takes bribes. "Corruption cannot be defeated, but it can be reduced. Whenever they tell you that corruption may be defeated, they tell you a lie. The question is how to reduce it at least to the Georgian level," Nemtsov said.

"Georgia, the most thievish republic in the Soviet Union, has proven that it was possible for a traffic officer to stop you and take no money, for a man registering your apartment or the director of your kindergarten to take no bribes. Apparently, that can be done in the most thievish country if there is a will. If there is no will and everything is built on theft, certainly, it would be impossible to defeat corruption," he said.

Nemtsov described the victory over corruption in Georgia as "a fantastic, unreal success" of Mikheil Saakashvili. "Devil knows how he did that. He fired ten interior ministers and he demonstratively put bribe takers in jail. He did devil knows what, but now you go to prison if you are speeding and offer a bribe to a Tbilisi police officer for disregarding your offense. You will be cuffed, pulled out of the car and brought to prison. Your family will not matter; it will not change anything," he said.

"It is disgraceful for Russia, but we must say that our goal is to cut the corruption level to the Georgian one," Nemtsov said.

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