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MOSCOW, September 11 (Itar-Tass) — Speaker of the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament Sergei Naryshkin said he was opposed to the idea to ban nepotism in parliament. "Excessive suspicion of certain categories of citizens is inappropriate for the legislator, when it is proposed to restrict their rights "just in case," as they say," Naryshkin said on Tuesday, at the first plenary session of the State Duma this autumn.
"They do not take into account the nature of the legislative branch, when voicing the idea to restrict participation in it by the sign of kinship," the speaker said, "I will underline: we should not forget about the equality of citizens' rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution."
Last week, head of the house committee on labor and social policy Andrei Isayev /United Russia faction/ submitted a law bill proposing a ban on relatives' working in parliament together. The proposed amendment to the federal law on the status of the Federation Council member and State Duma deputy stipulate that a citizen cannot be a Federation Council member or a State Duma deputy if case of close kinship /parents, spouses, children, siblings, as well as siblings, parents, spouses' children and children's spouses) to other representatives of upper or lower chamber of the parliament.
In case the law is approved, the MPs that fall under the operation of this legislation should step down within a month.
Isayev called for making the law effective from January 1, 2013.
If two relatives work in parliament, it will be sufficient for one of them to resign. As for the sanctions for violations, under the effective Article 4 of the law on the status, the violators lose their mandate.
"I'm introducing amendments to article 1 /of the law/," Isayev said in an interview to Tass, adding that the law would keep Article 4.
Isayev voiced the initiative at a news conference on September 3.
"Today, there exist employment restrictions for relatives in civil service; the law prohibits close relatives to work at a government bodies; the same restrictions apply to judges and prosecutors. I believe we have to rectify the situation, as the ban does not cover the State Duma deputies or Federation Council members," he stated, "in the State Duma, one of the four parties has turned into a clannish company; there are several families and clans there. It does not look quite ethical."
Isayev obviously referred to A Just Russia faction.
However, a number of politicians criticized the initiative. Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko noted that the issue was not that pressing, in her opinion. “I believe we have many more topical themes and problems we all have to work at," she told reporters.
"It's possible to pass this law but I don't know if it’s that pressing and should have priority compared with other bills the parliament has to review," Matviyenko said.