MOSCOW, October 3 (Itar-Tass) —The Central Election Commission /CEC/ decided on Wednesday to hand over Gennady Gudkov's mandate to Alexander Tarnavsky, member of the Central Council of A Just Russia Party.
The vacancy in the Party's faction at the State Duma appeared after the parliament voted on September 14 to strip Gudkov of his mandate for illegal entrepreneurship, on the strength of the materials presented by the Investigation Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office. The parliament moved to oust Gudkov as running a business is incompatible with the lawmaker's status.
At the previous parliamentary election, Tarnavsky was third on the regional list of A Just Russia led by Gudkov.
Tarnavsky's candidacy was suggested by the presidium of the Central Council of A Just Russia in a statement to the CEC on September 27.
The CEC's decision came under criticism from United Russia, whose leadership accused a Just Russia on Tuesday of behind-the-scenes policy and violation of voters' rights. United Russia believes the mandate should be passed to economist Nikita Krichevsky who was number two in the regional group. The ruling party also stated its intention to place an inquiry about the matter with the Constitutional Court later this week.
The issue was raised at the CEC session by its members Tatyana Voronova and Valery Kryukov, too. Voronova suggested postponing the review, noting that Krichevsky had told the mass media he wanted to accept the mandate. Also, she claimed that A Just Russia had missed the deadline for submitting the documents to the CEC. "It added to my doubts" Voronova said. CEC member Valery Kryukov's objections ran much along the same line.
But their colleague Sergei Danilenko reminded about Provision 89 of the article of the federal law on the election of State Duma lawmakers. According to this norm, the Party's executive bodies have the right to offer vacancies to any other registered candidate from the same regional group. "The law unequivocally states that a written refusal to take the mandate is required only in case of its handover to another regional group," Danilenko underlined.
CEC voted for the decision to pas the mandate to Tarnavsky 8-4, with three abstentions.
A Just Russia said Krichevsky had "distanced himself from the Party's affairs" after the parliamentary elections.
Alexander Tarnavsky, 52, has been with A Just Russia since its establishment, as a member of its executive bodies.
Gudkov earlier told Tass if the Constitutional Court granted A Just Russia's appeal against stripping him of his mandate, Tarnvsky, as "a reliable colleague," would give the mandate back to Gudkov.