Election of governors could resume next year

Sergei Naryshkin (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)
The election of regional governors, which was stopped in 2005, could resume as early as 2012, believes the State Duma speaker, Sergey Naryshkin.

­He did not give precise details about when the first elections would be held, but said “the date will be provided for in a corresponding law when it enters into force.”

As for the procedure, it is not clear whether the elections will be direct, as outlined in President Medvedev’s annual address, or not. “Options are now being negotiated,” he said. “One of them is nomination of candidates by political parties.”

Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich sees no other options. “Anyway, parties will play the key role in the nomination of candidates. It is 100 per cent sure,” he told journalists.

However the head of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, believes individuals as well as parties should be involved in the nomination process.  

“I don’t think that only parties should put forward their nominees. People should also nominate their candidates,” she said. “How many residents of this or that region are party members? I think there are few of them. We should create a mechanism allowing people to nominate worthy candidates who they trust.”

One of the tools, in her view, would be to hold primaries.

She added that a return to direct elections of regional governors would find a positive response in society since the current system “maintains a certain distance between the population and the authorities.”

Currently, it is the president who submits governor candidatures to regional parliaments for approval. The candidates are chosen from the majority party in the area.

In his address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday President Dmitry Medvedev stated that the election of governors should be re-instituted. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had already said that candidates could be nominated by political parties but all of them should go “through the presidential filter.”