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Medvedev, Matviyenko to discuss Fed Council restructuring

October 17, 2011, 5:25 UTC+3

Matviyenko assured she did not plan to conduct a revolution, but on the contrary wanted the parliament work traditions to be maintained

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MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with Federation Council leaders on Monday to discuss key issues related to the upper house's work, including the house restructuring, a Kremlin administration source told Itar-Tass.

The meeting will be held almost a month after the election of Matviyenko as Federation Council Speaker (September 21). The ex-St. Petersburg governor was unanimously supported by 140 senators. The only person who abstained was herself.

Right after the election, Matviyenko told Medvedev about her plans. She said about reforming for the Federation Council not to be a house "just to grind out laws".

Medvedev believes the Federation Council will take its proper place in the political system of the state to be a real upper house to take decisions on various state issues, reflecting positions of regions, which form the house. He expects the house to take tough stands sometimes. There are capabilities to optimize the work of the house, he noted.

Addressing the meeting of senators after her election, Matviyenko pledged to "establish order" in the house not to have just formal work and double structures. Those who will not attend plenary meetings may be even fined. Matviyenko herself pledged to work hard to enhance the authority of the house, which she believes is the core of stability of the Russian political system.

The speaker noted the autumn session would not be easy. About 500 laws are planned to be considered. She noted the role of regions should be strengthened in the federal legislative process and urged her colleagues to often go to regions to know their problems and help solve them.

Matviyenko warned against confrontation and opposition of interests of regions and the federal centre, calling for coordination and partnership to find best solutions.

She recommended senators to work more actively with the State Duma to work out draft laws. Federation Council members must use their right for a legislative initiative, and not only to submit bills, but achieve their adoption. She recalled that the senators submitted 80 bills in 2011 and 47 this year and only some of them were adopted.

The speaker, who has experience of diplomatic work, noted that legislators should defend the country's interests on the international arena, but not just to have parliamentary tourist trips.

Matviyenko noted she saw the council as a house of elderly, wise people. She was concerned that the senators worked, fearing dismissal. The speaker believes senators should be more protected. She initiated a draft law to improve the system of the house formation.

She assured she did not plan to conduct a revolution, but on the contrary wanted the parliament work traditions to be maintained.

Matviyenko plans to complete the restructuring of the work mechanisms by the end of this year. There are 27 committees and commissions in the upper house, and it has only 166 members, she noted.

A special session will be devoted to the changes, and the house will begin to work according to the new system from January 1, she believes.

President Dmitry Medvedev suggested nominating Matviyenko, who was St. Petersburg’s Governor, to head the Federation Council. In June, he supported the proposal of regional leaders to nominate her for the post, which was vacant after the Petersburg Legislative Assembly recalled its representative Sergei Mironov from the house. He was Federation Council Speaker at the time.

To become a senator, Matviyenko, who was governor of St. Petersburg for eight years since 2003, participated as a candidate in the municipal elections in two districts of the city in late August and won the elections.

Matviyenko left the office of governor in August 22. Ex-presidential envoy to the Central Federal District Georgy Poltavchenko appointed to replace her signed a resolution on August 31 to name her as a Federation Council member – a representative of the Petersburg government.


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