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War in Chechnya at Yabloko's Russian website

Press release, 19.04.2000


Yabloko and SPS begin working together

The leader of Yabloko Grigory Yavlinsky assessed the joint meeting of the two Duma factions – Yabloko and the SPS – “as a good beginning in the creation of a democratic coalition”.

On April 19 the Yabloko and the SPS factions conducted their first joint meeting, where they discussed the issues of a single candidate at the gubernatorial elections in St Petersburg and the formation of a coordination council on legislation of the Yabloko and the SPS factions.

It was decided to nominate a single candidate from the democratic forces at the gubernatorial elections in St Petersburg. The St Petersburg branches of Yabloko and the SPS will form joint headquarters, which will develop a procedure for the nomination of a single candidate.

The Yabloko and the SPS factions are creating a co-ordination council on legislation which will develop a single position for the factions on key drafts. The factions instructed deputies S.Ivanenko (Yabloko) and V.Pokhmelkin (SPS) to prepare within a week the provisions for the work of such a coordination council.

The first example of the joint legislative work was a joint decision not to support the Code on Administrative Delinquencies which will be discussed by the State Duma at its second reading.

The State Duma appointed Sergei Stepashin Chairman of the Audit Chamber

On April 19, 2000, the State Duma appointed one of the leaders of the Yabloko faction and Chairman for the Anti-Corruption Committee, Sergei Stepashin, as Chairman of the Audit Chamber.

This decision was approved by 309 deputies of the Duma: 29 deputies voted against and 10 abstained. At the same time the State Duma released Khachim Karmokov from the post of the Chairman of the Audit Chamber, as his term had expired.

In a speech at the meeting of the Duma, Sergei Stepashin noted that he personally dislikes the discussion" which had evolved over the release of Karmokov. Sergei Stepashin characterised the latter as a top professional and said that he had always reached understanding with Karmokov, when head of the government and previously head of the Interior Ministry.

In turn Khachim Karmokov called Sergei Stepashin a "worthy successor" and appealed on the left majority of the Duma to support the candidacy of Sergei Stepashin. Sergei Stepashin told the deputies of his views on ways of enhancing the efficiency of the work of the Audit Chamber.

He noted that in the future the Audit Chamber must become the main body of financial control over the expenditure of budget funds and the fight with corruption. He also stressed that the Audit Chamber should establish constant interaction with the President, the chambers of the Federal Assembly (Ed. the parliament) and the government, something it had failed to do in the past.

Sergei Stepashin also said that he had discussed this issue with the President-elect Vladimir Putin. The new Chairman of the Audit Chamber plans to focus on drafting the methodology and criteria for rating the efficiency of the Audit Chamber. In particular, he noted that this should be achieved by making changes to legislation targeted at raising the responsibility and expanding the competence of the Audit Chamber.

Sergei Stepashin also stressed that he would relieve the work of the Accounting Chamber of its redundant politicisation. Sergei Stepashin also said that it was necessary "to refrain from abusing the auditing process" and stressed that in the past different lobbyists had tried to exploit the Audit Chamber to achieve their goals.

The Audit Chamber is a state financial control authority formed by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and is accountable to the assembly. The main task of this body is to organise and ensure control over the timely implementation of the revenues and expenditure items of the federal budget and the budgets of federal extra-budgetary funds.

The controlling jurisdiction of the Audit Chamber spreads to all the state bodies (including their administrative bodies) and institutions of Russia and federal extra-budgetary funds. The Chairman of the Audit Chamber is appointed by the State Duma for a six-year term.

The Chairman of the Audit Chamber cannot be a Deputy of the State Duma, a member of the government or engage in other paid work except for teaching or research.

Based on Interfax reports.