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Russian authorities drafted a bill on new rules to form the upper house of parliament

March 15, 2012, 13:42 UTC+3
The Federation Council is even not aware how concretely one hopeful will be elected from three candidates for senator
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MOSCOW, March 15 (Itar-Tass) — Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said on Wednesday that the bill for the elections of senators is almost ready. It was reported that the elections of senators will be direct only partially. Russian citizens will have to elect their representative in the Federation Council together with a new governor. According to the authors of the law for elections of senators in the Federation Council, each candidate for governor in the region will run in the elections together with three candidates for members in the upper house of parliament.

A so complicated scheme looks like elections only in its shape, the RBC daily believes. Although formally it does not contradict the Constitution, which holds that the Federation Council is formed by legislative and executive authorities in the region and actually shows the willingness of officials to leave all as it is, the experts believe. The newspaper found that the Federation Council wants to link the elections of the senators with direct gubernatorial elections. The developed bill envisages that each candidate for governor will run in the elections together with three candidates for senators. “A candidate, who will gain the highest percentage at the elections, will be delegated to the upper house of parliament. The bill offers three candidates, because people should have a choice,” Matviyenko remarked.

The Federation Council is even not aware how concretely one hopeful will be elected from three candidates for senator. “This will be sooner direct elections,” the newspaper quoted Alexander Pochinok as saying.

The bill envisages that the regional parliament delegates a deputy in the Federation Council, a representative of the regional chief executive is elected together with the governor at general elections. The bill should pass a legal expertise and broad debates, but the State Duma may approve it before the end of the year, the Kommersant daily writes. Experts believe that senators elected under this law will not have a high political status and a solid support in the regions.

The bill should also pass a legal expertise and debates, though, according to the newspaper, its main provisions were almost coordinated in the Kremlin. After this the bill will be put up “for the most sweeping debates,” Matviyenko said. After that the senators will put it up in the State Duma as a legislative initiative, it should be approved before the end of the year, the Federation Council speaker believes. According to an expert of the Institute of Modern Development Andrei Maximov, the scheme offered for the elections of members of the Federation Council, is “certainly liberalization.” However, he believes that in this case the elections of senators will not be “democratic and direct.”

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily recalled that this bill on the elections of senators was submitted in the State Duma and members of the A Just Russia faction headed by the former speaker of the Federation Council headed by the former speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov. The bill envisages that a senator is elected in a direct ballot by residents in the region and then is approved by the incumbent governor. If Mironov’s variant of the bill sounds more traditional, Matviyenko’s bill is at least more original, the newspaper believes.

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