25 october, 2013

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Would it help to recall?

Would it help to recall?
The RF Civic Chamber will establish a working group on reforming the institute for recalling regional and municipal deputies. Civic Chamber Vice President Vladisalv Grib said this at the October 25 hearing.
“We must bring back and reform the institute of recalling deputies of legislative assemblies of RF subjects and representative bodies of local self-government; presently, this mechanism does not work and we need, I believe, to seriously reform it,” Vladisalv Grib is sure, because, by his words, there presently are no cases of recalling deputies, while there are lots of appeals from action groups on recalling one or another deputy.
“There was no single deputy to leave through the recalling procedure, even if they were doing nothing in the course of the entire term,” the CC Vice President added.
He informed that the Civic Chamber would establish a working group and interact with all political forces to make the mechanism work.
In the opinion of the CC Vice President, it is necessary to grant the right to raise the issue of recalling a deputy to groups of 500 citizens and to regional Civic Chambers. “In our country, 500 people are enough to establish a political party. I guess this number should be enough to raise the issue of recalling one deputy,” he commented.
Vladisalv Grib noted that the trickiest thing would be “to write reasons for recalling.” “On the one hand, they should be accurately formulated; on the other, we need to avoid mechanistic approach. Let’s imagine a deputy who diligently attends all sessions and votes, but does nothing beyond this,” Grib said.
Also, he believes it is necessary to introduce obligatory reporting for deputies of regional and municipal assemblies on their activities. “We have governors to report, as well as the Prosecutor’s Office and law enforcement bodies; they all report, while deputies do not. And they have no liability now; there is no way to cancel their authority with the exception of cases of violations of the Criminal Code,” he said.
State Duma Member, Leader of the LDPR faction at SD Vladimir Zhirinovsky supported Vladisalv Grib’s initiative to look for mechanisms for recalling deputies; however, he suggested to grant this right to leaders of parties or party factions. “The right to recall should belong to party leaders, because they are interested in good deputies,” he claimed.
The party leader also told that salaries of State Duma members will be doubled. “They intend to double salaries. Who would agree to leave?  One can stay, do nothing for 300 thousand rubles, and in spring it will already be 400 thousand or half a million, and one can hang up without doing anything,” he said. This is why, in his opinion, it is important to introduce the mechanism of rotation at the legislative assemblies and the State Duma, so that about 40% of the parliamentary corps would be replaced in each convocation in case deputies did not work well.
“We should have rotation of legislative assemblies’ leaders. We must introduce an amendment to the law saying that 10% are subject to rotation each year. Then we will be obliged to rotate 40% of the deputy corps in the four years of a convocation,” Zhirinovsky said.
By his words, rotation could be also introduced in the leading bodies of parliaments, electing them for one year only, and to the party leadership as well.
“Party leaders shall be elected for one term only. Then they should be replaced. Then we will get some fresh air, an expectation that the people we need will appear,” Zhirinovsky pointed out.
Besides this, he proposed to reduce the number of deputies at each level if rotation or recalling mechanisms do not start working.
“It should be enough to have 200 deputies at the State Duma, while 20 members should suffice for regional parliaments and 5 for municipal ones. This way we should be able to save money,” he believes.
Chairman of the Moscow State Duma Vladimir Platonov presented a law developed by deputies of the capital city allowing to recall mandates. The deputies are concerned that citizens, should they get such option, would recall them for political reasons. This is why parliamentarians decided to introduce certain criteria: participation in meetings, voting and one-on-one meetings with voters. And the MCD staff keeps recording fulfillment of these indexes.
“Only based on these materials there can emerge a citizens’ initiative on an early recall. There should be no other innovations of ‘like or do not like, looks wrong, said wrong” sort, the Speaker of the Moscow City Duma believes. Thanks to this procedure, Platonov noted, we have one hundred percent show-up at the Moscow City Duma assembly meetings.
Taking into consideration the positive experience of the capital city parliament, as well as similar procedures at regional legislative assemblies, Platonov proposed to create a framing bill on recalling deputies to be adopted at the federal level.
“We shall not be afraid of this institute; this should be a sanction which no single normal man would let to happen. One would be attending, one would be suffering, but one would be doing. On the other hand, there will be certain intimidation. And citizens will be protected against idlers who now can arrogantly and cynically ignore their duties,” Platonov said.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky argued with Vladimir Platonov regarding the criteria. In his opinion, the deputy can keep coming to assembly meetings, vote, but do nothing else, and be a ballast. “These are mechanical indexes, and only the party leaders can give an objective assessment,” he is sure.
In his turn, Vice Chairman of the Council of Federation on constitutional law, legal and judicial matters and civil society development Ruslan Gattarov pointed out that the right to deprive deputies of their authority shall belong only to the voters. There should exist the same criteria for the whole country, while the procedure should be clear to citizens.
“The mechanism must be easy and clear to voters, because only voters, let it be by any elaborated mechanism, shall have the right to recall a deputy. I believe that nobody else shall be granted with such mechanisms,” the Senator said.
Co-chair of the CC Working Group on public control over the election process Maxim Grigoriev also supported the idea of introducing criteria; the most important thing is to make them conceptual.
“It should be not enough to have only three reasons,” he said. Also, the expert drew attention to the fact that at many small settlements there are municipal deputies elected by the minimal numbers of voters. Theoretically, residents of one or a few apartment buildings could get together and recall a deputy. Grigoriev is concerned that a mechanism of the kind might turn into an “instrument for advancement of personal goals.”
Civic Chamber Member Fatima Albakova believes that it is important to take into consideration deputies’ reporting on the work done for their voters. She proposed to introduce a mechanism of public control on municipal and regional deputies.
Civic Chamber Member Alexey Arbuzov proposed to create deputies’ ratings and place them in the open access. In his opinion, deputies’ activities shall be assessed in the same way as governors’ but with a clause that there will be fewer criteria (governors’ work us assessed by more than 200 criteria).
Arbuzov is sure that the institute of recalling shall not be an intimidating tool, but a method to stimulate deputies’ activities. “We have been trying to get rid of the intimidation policies, and all the same come back to it. People are reluctant to run for local self-governments anyway, and it is really difficult to find a person to be the Head of local administration,” the CC Member stressed.

RF Civic Chamber Media–Office


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