More on political proposals

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has offered a number of incentives which are aimed at strengthening the role of the legislative power as a balance of the executive one. He proposed to extend the presidential term from four to six years, the State Duma t

Currently both presidential and State Duma terms in Russia last for four years and only three months divide the two election cycles.

As a result, once every four years the election campaign in Russia lasts for practically half a year – from autumn till spring.

The first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, and the second President, Vladimir Putin, were repeatedly getting proposals to extend the presidential term but both said they won’t change the Constitution.
Medvedev said that the extension of the term is not a reform of the Constitution, just a correction.

To balance the extension of the President’s authority, Medvedev offered to extend the role of the legislative power as well – in particular, to oblige the government to give reports to legislators.

Medvedev also offered to discuss the opportunity to gradually decrease the number of voters’ signatures to be collected in order to participate in the parliamentary election.

“Moreover, those parties which will get more than five per cent of the votes during the next parliamentary election or will have factions in more than one third of regional parliaments, should be exempted from collecting signatures,” Medvedev said.

According to the existing legislation, parties not currently represented in the State Duma must either collect two million signatures of voters or pay a deposit.

The deposit for the parties at the parliamentary election is now 60 million roubles ($2.2 million)
Medvedev offered to abolish the deposit altogether.

Medvedev said that those parties that have got a bit less than the threshold 7 per cent of the votes at the election should not be excluded from the country’s political life.

“Those parties that get from five to seven per cent of the votes should get one or two places in the Duma,” he said.

The Russian President also described why he felt it necessary to change the procedure for the formation of the Federation Council.

Currently governors and regional legislative bodies have a right to delegate representatives to the Federation Council at their own discretion.

“The Federation Council can be formed only from those elected to the region’s representative bodies and the region’s self-government deputies,” Medvedev said.

The President added that only the parties which have won a majority at the regional elections will be able to nominate the future executive chiefs of the subjects of the Russian Federation.

Medvedev said the authority of the representative bodies of the local self-governments should be extended for them to have an opportunity to more effectively control and even dismiss municipality heads.

Also he believed it was necessary to cancel the ‘settlement requirement’ which demands that members of the Federation Council live in ‘their region’, not less than for ten years in all, starting from the age of 18.

Also the minimum number of party members necessary to register a new political party should be decreased, and a law about a necessity of the rotation of the leading staff should be passed, meaning the same person could not hold the same position in a party longer than the defined term.