[JURIST] The Russian State Duma [official website, in Russian], the country's lower house of parliament, voted 363-8 Friday to approve new restrictions on national referendums, despite a universal walk-out by all 57 Communist Party [party website, in Russian] members. Referendums are binding under Russian law, and the new restrictions effectively bar referendums on issues including the national budget, taxes and treaties. Communist party members objected to the proposal, saying it deprives Russian citizens of their right to voice their opinion on important national issues.
The bill will move on to the Federation Council [official website, in Russian], Russia's upper house, and then go to Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] for signature. AP has more. Kommersant has local coverage.