Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that elections for the lower house of parliament will be held December 4.
At a meeting Monday with political party leaders at his summer home in Sochi, Medvedev said the decree that sets the date for the State Duma elections will go into force as soon as it is officially published.
The 450-seat Duma is dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party.
Medvedev says he hopes the future makeup of the Duma will reflect to the maximum extent possible the political preferences of the widest range of citizens. He also urged the political parties to avoid extremist or inflammatory campaigns and to avoid illegal actions.
It is uncertain whether Medvedev will run for a second presidential term, or if his predecessor, Putin, will attempt to regain the post. Neither man has given any definitive signal of his intentions. However, they have agreed not to run against each other and to announce their decision soon.
The presidential elections are scheduled to be held next March, but no date has been announced.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.