[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

St Peterburg Times, February 6, 2004

Law Lets Nameless Sit in Mariinsky

By Vladimir Kovalev

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 removed 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 by Governor Valentina Matviyenko and sent back to the assembly with her amendments.

"These days we're facing a habit of deputies jumping from one faction to another and it's all done for money," Vishnevsky said. "They talk about it themselves saying that a 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 new 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 way," he said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "Now, for instance, there are several legislators who have joined the United Russia faction some time after they were elected ... they had no relation to the party itself when it was created."

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 should be classified or open," he said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "Knowledge is the basis of making a conscious choice."

"If I saw some idiot on the list of a party I wanted to vote for, I wouldn't vote for that party," he said.

The deputies also raised the level of voter turnout for an election to be 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 many deputies will sit in the new parliament. Both Vishnevsky and Yevtukhov said legislators are divided over 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 it became 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 the 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. The faction, named Narodno-Patrioticheskaya or People's Patriotic, unites former members of the Communist faction.


See also:

the origianl at

St Peterburg Times, February 6, 2004

[home page][map of the server][news of the server][forums][publications][Yabloko's Views]

Project Director: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru Director: Olga Radayeva, e-mail: english@yabloko.ru
Administrator: Vlad Smirnov, e-mail: vladislav.smirnov@yabloko.ru