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Leaders of the Yabloko, SPS and OVR factions declare that the arrest of Gusinsky is splitting society and discrediting the country


Halfway to Happiness. Yabloko proposes the election of Federation Council members
July 12, 2000

Deputy Chairman of the Yabloko faction in the State Duma announced that it had started to collect signatures to support the introduction of an amendment to the Constitution of the RF on direct elections to Federation Council members.

To be enlisted in the agenda of the autumn session of the Duma, this issue requires 90 signatures of Duma deputies. Today Deputy Chairman of the Yabloko faction explained the real state of affairs to correspondent of "Segodnya" Sergei Miulin.

Question: Sergei Viktorovich, does the collection of signatures for amendments to the Constitution imply that Yabloko has left the camp of deputies who advocate overriding the veto of the Federation Council on the first draft law from "Putinís package"?

Ivanenko: No, it doesn't. However, we have spoken about the inquiry to the Constitutional Court about the interpretation of the article of the Constitution on the formation of the Federation Council from representatives of the executive and legislative authorities in the regions. Here lawyers hold different viewpoints: some say that there are good grounds for assuming that "formation" includes the concept of "election". Others say that this is impossible. Therefore, an exhaustive interpretation is required here. Naturally, this will open the road to the adoption of an alternative draft law on the formation of the Federation Council submitted by Yabloko. The main argument for declining this draft went as follows: we are virtually in favour, but we cannot violate the Constitution. In addition the Federation Council from the very outset - through its Chairman Yegor Stroyev, and now through their amendment submitted to the consolatory commission -already states its preference for direct elections of the governors. Certainly, they are saying this on the basis of the principle "it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good". Nevertheless, this issue is at last going somewhere.

Question: Do you think that the reform initiated by the President will bring some good?

Ivanenko: I think so. Most importantly the key problems of Russia, such as the Federation structure, the governorsí status and relationships between the centre and regions, have finally been raised and discussed. Speaking about the veto, we are proceeding from the premise that the present law is a half-step (on the way to an elected Senate) and it should be valid not for a very long period of time. Question: Do you mean that this will be a kind of transitional provision? Ivanenko: Yes. When we decided to support the presidential draft, we proceeded from the premise that it was still better than what we have now.

Question: Will the presidential initiative on the creation of the State Council complicate the picture?

Ivanenko: The State Council as an advisory body is not a problem. There are a large number of different councils under the President: on womenís affairs, local government. As the heads of the regions will be represented in the State Council, this body will be significant, but it will not play an independent constitutional role.

Interviewer: Sergei Miulin

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