| Half of the Legislative Assembly deputies at the next
election will come
from party lists closed to the public,
according to a law passed by the city parliament on Wednesday.
Deputies elected in single-mandate districts will automatically be
from party lists, which will be
classified until after the elections due in December 2006, the law says.
"[The system of the party lists] is good because in this case
it will be clear which party deputies belong to and who is really who,"
Boris Vishnevsky, a Yabloko
faction member, said Wednesday in a phone interview.
The law was originally passed at the end of last year, but was vetoed
Governor Valentina Matviyenko and
sent back to the assembly with her amendments.
"These days we're facing a habit of deputies jumping from one
another and it's all done for
money," Vishnevsky said. "They talk about it themselves saying
faction has completed its goal, the
money's been spent, so why not leave for a different faction? I won't
mention any names in particular, let
them guess themselves who am I talking about."
Viktor Yevtukhov, a United Russia faction deputy, said that under the
law factions in the Legislative
Assembly would be formed on a more solid party basis.
"The parliament will look as if it is built in a more vertical
said Wednesday in a telephone interview.
"Now, for instance, there are several legislators who have joined
United Russia faction some time after
they were elected ... they had no relation to the party itself when it
Yury Vdovin, a Citizen's Watch international human rights group member,
said the new law deprives voters
of their right to choose who they want to represent them.
"It's just rubbish to discuss whether information about candidates
be classified or open," he said
Wednesday in a telephone interview. "Knowledge is the basis of making
"If I saw some idiot on the list of a party I wanted to vote for,
wouldn't vote for that party," he said.
The deputies also raised the level of voter turnout for an election
considered valid. The new level is 30
percent of eligible voters, while previously the level was 20 percent.
Turnout for the last elections in 2002
was estimated at 29.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the main concern among legislators at the moment is how
deputies will sit in the new
parliament. Both Vishnevsky and Yevtukhov said legislators are divided
whether to have 50 lawmakers
as at present or to double their number, with 50 deputies elected in
single-mandate districts and another 50
elected on party lists.
"After an internal survey of deputies' opinions on that point
clear most of them would like to see
100 deputies," Yevtukhov said.
"This is because few of the current deputies will have a chance
to get into
the new parliament on party lists
because the top places on the lists will go to people who financed the
election campaign," he said.
Vdovin said City Hall will not want a large number of deputies because
larger the number the harder they
are to manipulate.
"It is easy to pay 20 or so deputies [to solve questions],"
he said. "A big
city like St. Petersburg could have
up to 150 deputies, but City Hall would not allow that to happen."
A group of five left-wing deputies registered a new faction Wednesday.
Narodno-Patrioticheskaya or People's Patriotic, unites former members
the Communist faction.
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