MOSCOW, December 20 (Itar-Tass) —— President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reiterated he favoured direct gubernatorial elections in most regions.
The federal law on direct elections came into force in July, and the first elections were held on October 14, this year.
"Personally I am for direct elections," the president said at the news conference. But in national republics, people must "themselves take optimal decisions" on the election procedure, he believes.
"The Russian society came to direct elections long ago. It is right when people themselves elect leaders." It means they are responsible for the results of their work, Putin said.
But recently leaders in national republics of the Russian Federation raised the issue, since other nationalities which are minorities in the republics are concerned that they cannot elect their representatives.
The president cited the example of the dramatic events of the elections in Karachai-Cherkessia. People from national republics concerned over such unfavourable developments themselves raised the issue, the president said.
Putin also cited the positive example of the Republic of Dagestan, where, in his words, the system existed for many years when a representative of one ethnic group was president, a representative of another was head of government and a third headed the parliament, and then they changed the posts.
People must not be deprived of the right to directly elect heads of regions, but people in national republics must have the right to take optimal decisions that would not lead to national conflicts, Putin noted.
Gubernatorial elections were held on October 14, for the first time in the past eight years. As a result of the elections, all the current governors remained in office for the next five years. Elections of various levels were held in 77 Russian regions that day.