MOSCOW, June 25 (Itar-Tass) — Two members of the presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights /SPCh/, Valentin Gefter and Boris Pustyntsev, quit over disagreement with the new procedure to form this body. Their resignation statements were placed on the official SPCh website.
"It's a shame to leave not of one's own accord, but due to this kind of circumstances," Gefter wrote.
Pustyntsev said "we did not aspire to the role of civil society representatives - the Council's very name implies that Russia's civil society is to go a long way of development. We expressed the opinion of a number of non-governmental organizations and experts, whose authority is recognized by the human rights community. The new SPCh formation procedure is "demagogy."
Earlier, head of Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alexeyeva had quit the Council for the same reasons.
SPCh head Mikhail Fedotov said a decision had been made to adopt a new method to select Council members. "We decided that the Council would start recruiting candidates for 13 /vacant/ posts on its website from July 1. Public organizations that regard themselves as part of the civil society will write to the website. The idea is to let public organizations list their candidates from July 1 through August 1; and voting on the Internet will take place from August 1 through September 1. After the rating voting, a list of 39 candidates /three per vacancy/ will be submitted to the president," Fedotov said.
"It is up to the president to form the Council which is his collective adviser," he reminded.