Legislators oppose governors elections
The State Duma looks set to call off Dmitry Medvedev’s proposed election reform.
In its second hearing of the bill submitted by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, signaled that it will reject the proposed regional election reform.
As previously reported, Medvedev’s reform bill includes the re-introduction of direct governors’ elections in the regions. It also proposes to introduce a mechanism enabling the regional population to dismiss a governor based on a loss of confidence.
The State Duma, which after the November 2011 parliament elections, remains under the control of the United Russia party, in a first reading on 28 February approved the legislative initiative. Now, however, it wants it otherwise and is likely to approve the bill only after including significant amendments.
In its second hearing of the bill due 24 April, the parliament is likely to demand that not only one, but two, socalled “filters” are included in the regional election process. According to newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the first filter will be on the municipal level, and the second on the level of the president. Consequently, candates for the governor’s post will first have to be approved by local authorities and afterwards by the president and his administration.
Also the upper house of the parliament, the Federation Council, now signals a strong opposition to the proposed more liberal legislation. While Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko in late 2011 expressed a positive attitude towards more democratically elected legislators, she now says that the introduction of a system of directly elected senators is “impossible”, arguing that this would contradict the Constitution.