MOSCOW, December 14 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament plans to start consultations over the so-called "package agreement" on dividing the key posts in the 6th parliament. A special working group comprising representatives of all the political parties that had won seats in the new parliament is expected to meet on Wednesday.
Igor Lebedev, a leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, who won a State Duma mandate, told Itar-Tass that 5th State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov had promised on Tuesday to sign an instruction on setting up this group under the quota principle.
"We are ready to convene today for the first session. The working group will comprise three persons from each party represented in the new [State] Duma," he said.
Yuri Shuvalov, head of the State Duma department for public relations, deputy secretary of the presidium of United Russia’s General Council, confirmed to Tass that this agrees with the established practice when the represented parties delegate three persons each to discuss the future package agreement. "It's quite possible that consultations will be held as Boris Gryzlov proposed," Shuvalov said.
On December 13, Boris Gryzlov voiced United Russia’s vision of the future structure of the State Duma, following the meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and the leaders of the parliamentary factions.
"I've come up with the proposal to create a broad coalition, in particularly give a large number of posts to the Opposition," Gryzlov said.
Of the 29 house committees at the new State Duma, United Russia will lead 15, while the Opposition will chair 14. The Communists are getting six committees, and the Liberal Democratic Party and A Just Russia are getting four each. Three of the eight posts of deputy house speaker will be handed over to the Opposition factions. United Russia representatives will be given five deputy speaker posts.
The Duma Council is expected to comprise eight United Russia members and six Opposition members. "I believe this coalition will enable us to take into account the opinion of the Opposition factions, although United Russia will keep the leading role," Gryzlov stated.
However, it seems the Opposition is not too pleased with this method of "taking its opinion into account." United Russia won slightly more than half of all mandates - 238, and continues to behave as if it keeps the absolutely constitutional majority, Igor Lebedev said.
The current situation in which Untied Russia finds itself does not give it the right to dictate its terms, he went on to say.
Let United Russia chair 15 committees, they will have the post of State Duma speaker, but the number of deputy speaker posts must be quality divided: three for United Russia and three for each Opposition faction. The Duma Council must not enlarge. A rational proposal is to let it have just seven members with 4 to 3 ratio in favour of United Russia, taking into account the future speaker's vote.
The main item of the package agreement is the post of the Sate Duma speaker. However, Lebedev acknowledged that one could hardly expect serious bargaining as the "post goes to United Russia with 100-percent certainty."
Boris Gryzlov, too, seems to be quite confident: "take it or leave it."
As for the possible candidates for the post, Gryzlov said "this intrigue will keep until the last day." Each faction has the right to nominate its own candidate, he noted.
United Russia faction plans to convene the eve of the first plenary session of the State Duma. On Thursday, United Russia will know the composition of its State Duma faction, Yuri Shuvalov explained.
The Opposition has already announced its proposals. The LDPR is expected to propose Igor Lebedev for the post of deputy speaker, the Communists will propose Ivan Melnikov and A Just Russia will propose Nikolai Levichev.
On December 13, President Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to convene the first plenary session of the 6th State Duma on December 21.