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State Duma to begin last session before December 4 elections

September 05, 2011, 6:11 UTC+3

The 5th State Duma has only three months to work before the elections, while a next upper house of parliament will be elected already on the new rules for 5 years instead of four

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MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The 8th and last session before the elections to the State Duma due on December 4 will begin on Monday. The deputies will resume working after the summer vacations. The 5th State Duma has only three months to work before the elections, while a next upper house of parliament will be elected already on the new rules for five years instead of four years.

The parliamentary season formally started back on August 29, but the lawmakers traditionally worked in the regions in the first week. The State Duma Council will have a meeting on Monday to approve the agenda for the first plenary meeting on September 6.

The deputies should debate more than 400 bills, 78 of which were moved by the specific committees as the priority ones, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told reporters. This is primarily the federal budget law for 2012 and the planned period until 2014, which had not been passed in the State Duma yet, but is preliminarily under discussion with the deputies. “We will seek to focus attention on the priorities of the social policy, the development of the real sector of economy, defence and security,” the speaker pledged.

Gryzlov named as the vital bills, which are already being debated in the State Duma, the initiatives over the remuneration of servicemen and the police service. “We are planning to approve them, surely, in this State Duma,” he pledged. Meanwhile, the parliamentarians are getting ready to work closely on a new basic education law, a bill of which was put up for national debates. “A new law on the basics of the healthcare of people in Russia that was already approved in the first reading is certainly important and needed for our healthcare system,” Gryzlov recalled.

“In general, the autumn session is expected to be particularly tense as the last session for the fifth State Duma,” the speaker said. However, he is confident that despite upcoming parliamentary elections “we will succeed to keep working in the constructive way over laws.”

Meanwhile, a forthcoming election will also affect the schedule of deputies. For instance, this session will have no week, which will be scheduled for meetings of the State Duma committees. The deputies will have to find some time for the work in the committees between plenary meetings and the workweeks in the regions that will be twice more in number than usual. The requirements to the discipline will not be changed, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Duma Organization and Regulation Otari Arshba (United Russia) told Itar-Tass. “The attendance of meetings is a matter of decency and personal responsibility of a deputy. I believe that people just should go to work,” he said with confidence. However, Arshba warned that the attendance reports can be made public if necessary. “Yet, we do not make public anything, because all deputies worked, and this was not needed, but if such a necessity appears, no one rules out such an opportunity,” he added.

The chairman of the State Duma Regulation Committee does not forecast any incidents or demarches during this session. “All that colleagues want to say about the vital problems they can say it during regular five-minute speeches,” which the factions are entitled to for political statements before a plenary meeting, he noted.

For his part, speaking on upcoming debates on the highly publicized bills, including those on education and healthcare, the coordinator of the United Russia social conservative club Civic Platform and a deputy Igor Igoshin did not rule out that “some people will certainly seek to speculate on this in the session hall, manipulating with a populism position.” “This will not help the real work and will harm it sooner, but the attention of voters is guaranteed,” he believes. “However, it is extremely important to provide qualified debates and to agree on all details particularly on these documents, just because they are basic and fundamental,” the lawmaker noted. “Therefore, I would like to urge all colleagues, including those from other parties, to remain decent people, who realize responsibility to the society for lawmaking results,” he concluded.

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