MOSCOW, February 28 - RAPSI. The State Duma has passed in the first reading on Tuesday a presidential bill proposing to exempt political parties from collecting signatures for all elections except presidential elections.

The bill stipulates that non-parliamentary parties will have to collect 100,000 signatures to support a presidential candidate as opposed to the current threshold of 2 million signatures.

Meanwhile, parties will have to collect at least 2,500 signatures in each region. The bill also proposes to reduce the required number of signatures to be collected by self-nominated candidates from 2 million to 300,000. Each self-nominated candidate will have to gather no more than 7,500 signatures in each region. Presently, the figure stands at 50,000 signatures. The number of signatures that must be gathered by single-mandate candidates to register for regional and local elections will also be reduced from 2 percent to 0.5 percent of their total constituency.

Only parliamentary parties are currently exempted from collecting signatures.