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Opposition parliamentarian advised to quit his seat after speech in US

March 21, 2013, 11:08 UTC+3

Dmitry Gudkov refused to surrender the mandate of his own accord

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The State Duma commission for ethics on Wednesday advised parliamentarian from the A Just Russia Party Dmitry Gudkov to voluntarily surrender the legislator’s mandate and make a public apology after his speech at a forum in the United States where he had asked senators to help him in search for overseas property of Russian officials. However, the State Duma cannot compel him to do this.

On Wednesday, the commission unanimously approved the decision to offer Dmitry Gudkov to hand in his mandate, the Kommersant daily writes. The wording was “for repeated abuse of ethics and for discrediting the Russian parliament”. Gudkov himself was not invited to the session. He refused to surrender the mandate of his own accord.

The newspaper reminds the readers that at a Freedom House forum on March 5 with the participation of US senators, the Russian parliamentarian made critical remarks about the activity of the State Duma and urged the senators to help Russian oppositionists in their search for undeclared property of Russian officials in America.

Representatives of all four parliamentary factions last week qualified this speech as insulting and appealed to the Duma ethics commission to assess it. Their appeal said that the speech of the deputy from A Just Russia had been of “harshly-worded anti-Russian nature, aimed at discrediting the country” and besides it had not been coordinated either with the Duma leadership or the leadership of the A Just Russia faction.

The commission has recommended Gudkov to present public apologies. “Colleagues have offered that Mr Gudkov apologize to the citizens and to the deputies for calling them in his speech swindlers and thieves,” the acting head of the commission, Communist Andrei Andreyev, told the Kommersant. The commission has also recommended the State Duma to strip him of the right to address the audience for a month.

The commission will forward its ruling to the Duma council that will fix the date when the issue will be considered at a session.

Duma cannot strip Dmitry Gudkov of his mandate, the Novye Izvestia newspaper quotes the deputy head of the parliamentary committee for constitutional legislation, Vadim Solovyov, as saying. To prove his words he cites article 4 of the law on the status of State Duma deputy, under which the lower house can vote for stripping a deputy of his seat if the deputy is engaged in entrepreneurship or other commercial activity, in case of his or her disablement or the entry of court verdict into legal force. “The decision of the ethics commission has no force,” the deputy explained. “Its verdict is only recommendatory,” he added.


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