Communists to contest United Russia’s “parliamentary monopoly” in Constitutional Court

Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation © Maksim Blinov
The chief lawyer of the Communist Party faction in the State Duma said that his comrades would soon oppose United Russia’s long-term domination in parliament and seek changes that would not allow any party to get a majority of seats.

We are preparing a quite unique appeal to the Constitutional Court concerning the monopoly of one party in the State Duma,” MP Vadim Solovyov said in an interview with TASS news agency.

He went on to explain that the Constitution provides that there should be no monopoly on power in Russia, including the monopoly on state power and ideology. Communists intend to use this principle and propose a major amendment to the law that would not allow one party to get more than half of all parliamentary seats. He noted that the same law might introduce quotas for parliamentary representation for one political party, for example, of 47 percent.

Constant holding of over 50 percent of parliamentary seats [by one party] is a trait of a totalitarian state,” Solovyov said.

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This is the first time the Communists have brought up the idea of a major parliamentary reform, but previously they have repeatedly proposed to change the principles of forming a government to give the parliamentary opposition a way to share power. The latest motion, which has yet to be considered by the Lower House, makes it obligatory for all parliamentary parties to nominate their candidates for ministers’ posts proportionally to their representation in the State Duma. The parliamentary majority party would get only one guaranteed post, that of prime minister. The candidates for government posts can be MPs or from outside parliament.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is the largest opposition party in parliament, holding 92 out of 450 seats. The parliamentary majority party United Russia holds 238 seats.

According to public opinion polls, United Russia’s domination is likely to remain after the next parliamentary elections due in September 2016. In early September, the independent Levada polling agency found out that 41 percent of Russians intended to support United Russia if the elections took place next weekend. United Russia’s popularity among those who had already decided to vote was even higher at 61 percent.