Russia reinstates governor elections

President Dmitri Medvedev wants direct election of regional governors. Photo: Jonas Karlsbakk

President Medvedev submitted the bill on Monday reversing the 2004 decision by then-President Putin.


The bill, published on the site of the president, says political parties will nominate candidates for regional governors. The parties will then have what is called “consultations” with the president. The president will choose who in his opinion is the preferable candidate. The parties will not have to follow the advice from the president and are free to nominate their own candidate.

Independent candidates that want to run for the governor’s office without being linked to a political party can do so, but need to collect a certain numbers of signatures. It is for the regional Duma to specify the numbers of signatures needed.

With the new bill, Dmitri Medvedev reverses the decision by Vladimir Putin in 2004 to appoint governors instead of having elections. The move by Putin was seen as a step backward for democracy. Today’s initiative by Medvedev follows street rallies all over Russia against alleged fraud on the December 4 national Duma elections.

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If the state Duma approves the bill, and the bill is also approved by the upper Chamber, the law can be put into affect already this May.

In an explaining note to the bill, Dmitri Medvedev says the maximum term a governor can stay in office is five years. A governor can still be sacked by the president, but then only because of corruption or other deep conflict of interest.