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MOSCOW, March 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday will consider the appointment of a new human rights ombudsman from a list of three candidates - Ella Pamfilova (nominated by the Russian president), Yelena Afanasieva (from the Liberal Democratic Party), and Oleg Smolin (of the Communist Party).
The outgoing ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, is stepping down after ten years in office. He has spent two five-years terms in this position, which is the legal limit.
President Vladimir Putin on February 13 asked the State Duma to appoint Ella Pamfilov as Lukin’s successor. Previously, he discussed the candidature with human rights activists and Lukin himself.
On February 24 the United Russia faction in the State Duma endorsed Pamfilova’s nomination. United Russia’s other candidates proposed earlier - Nikolai Bulayev and Pavel Krasheninnikov - have decided to quit of their own accord. Pamfilova has support from the Federation Council, the Civic Chamber and her faction in the State Duma (\A Just Russia).
Pamfilova has told ITAR-TASS in an interview that in case of her appointment she would focus on both “systemic issues of human rights protection and individual cases that people may ask her to address.” She identified her top priority in the capacity of Russia’s ombudsman as “the observance of the Constitution” adding that she would work in close contact with all those interested in human rights protection.
Pamfilova acknowledged that she was slightly nervous, but at the same time knew well enough where she was going and understood “the level of problems and issues that will come pouring in.”
The Communists and the Liberal Democrats are determined to press for their own candidates. The LDPR has declared it would vote for legislator Yelena Afanasieva. The CPRF on February nominated the first deputy chairman of the State Duma’s education committee, Oleg Smolin.
The appointment of a human rights ombudsman is the exclusive competence of the State Duma.