Group of politicians, economists initiate referendum on RF accession to WTO

MOSCOW. March 29. KAZINFORM Several political scientists and economists, who defend the rights of home producers, have initiated a nationwide referendum on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), one of the co-authors, Konstantin Babkin, told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

Babkin, head of the Rosagromash Association, said, "A package of documents should be ratified before the referendum. It is necessary to clarify Russian citizens' attitude towards the country's accession to the WTO and the negative consequences."

The organising committee for preparing a referendum involved a member of the Presidium of the KPRF Central Committee, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for Labour and Social Policy Nikolai Kolomeitsev, Left Front coordinator Sergei Udaltsov and others.

Babkin recalled that in order to hold a referendum at least two million signatures should be collected all around the country. He said the organising committee would gather at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on April 4. Then the application will be given to the Moscow election commission and the Russian Election Commission. The similar meetings are due to take place in 60 regions, he said.

The existing law on referendums regulates all procedures rather toughly. After the referendums in 1991 and 1993 no attempt to initiative such plebiscite was successful all around the country.

The protocol on Russia's accession to the WTO was signed in Geneva at the ministerial conference on December 16, 2011. The Russian parliament has 220 days to ratify the package of documents on the WTO accession. Thus, Russia should become a WTO full-fledged member by the middle of next year.


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