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Muscovites Will Be Returned Direct Elections of the Mayor?

Muscovites Will Be Returned Direct Elections of the Mayor?
30.05.2012

Deputies of the Moscow City Council approved the bill of change of order of elections of the mayor of the capital in the first reading at a session on Wednesday, May, 30th. According to the bill, the mayor of Moscow will be elected for a period of five years by residents of Moscow on the basis of universal suffrage. Thus every citizen of the Russian Federation who has reached age of 30 years possessing passive electoral right, having no nationality of the foreign state or residence permit or other document confirming the right to continuous accommodation of the citizen of the Russian Federation in the territory of the foreign state can be elected the mayor of Moscow. Besides, the mayor can't hold the post for more than two terms at a run, the candidate for a post of the head of the city will be nominated by political party or its regional office.

According to the bill, ten percent of deputies of representative bodies of local government and elected heads of municipalities should support promotion of the candidate for a post of the capital mayor, Interfax reports.

A day earlier at the session of the commission on state construction and local government deputies considered the drafts of laws “About amending articles 35, 36, 40 and 42 of the Charter of the city of Moscow” and ”About modification of “Electoral code of the city of Moscow”.

Amendments into the Charter define the order of elections of the mayor of Moscow and the requirements to which the candidate for this position should correspond. Namely - to have no foreign nationality or residence permit and to be older than 30 years. The mayor of Moscow is elected for five years on the basis of general equal electoral right as a result of ballot vote.

Innovations which weren’t earlier present in the capital legislation appeared in the document. Now the powers of the mayor of Moscow can be revoked by the voters, however, later the deputies of the Moscow City Council would have to develop and pass separate law about the order of the recall of the mayor.

The order of promotion of candidates for position of the mayor of Moscow is registered in details in the bill “About modification of “Electoral code of the city of Moscow””. It will be done by political parties. Thus promotion should be supported by 10 percent of deputies of representative bodies of local government and elected heads of municipalities.

Besides, the bill establishes new quantity of deputies of the Moscow municipal Duma. There will be 45 of them, 22 deputies will be elected from one-mandatory districts and 23 - according to party lists. Thus vote threshold in the capital parliament decreases from 7 to 5 percent and a number of signatures of voters necessary for registration of the candidate - from 1 to 0,5 percent. Registration of candidates, city (municipal) lists of candidates nominated by political parties is carried out without signatures of voters.

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From editorial board: As always, the devil is in the details. If earlier the problem was not in elections, but in the course of promotion and registration, new bill will square this problem.

Let's imagine what means for the promoted candidate from one of 50 (roughly speaking) parties to gather in own support "10 percent of deputies of representative bodies of local government and elected heads of municipalities…"?

It’s abundantly clearly that the bill completely cuts off possibility of self-promotion or promotion from initiative group of citizens. Though we are talking now about the mayor, not the political leader. It would seem why complete control is given only to the parties? It is simply illogical.

Let’s assume that popular candidate found the party which will nominate him. Further the question is completely under control of the parties which already have representation in the majority of municipalities and at level of the heads of municipalities. There’s only... one such party - "United Russia". Even parliamentary CPRF, Fair Russia and LDPR have no necessary size of representation. That is elections of the mayor again turn into profanation as at Luzhkov when Yury Mikhaylovich competed only to those who were approved by him as suitable rivals.

However, the gate for candidates for deputies of the Moscow City Council formally becomes wider. That is theoretically it’s possible to imagine the Moscow City Council, where "United Russia" already has no majority, but it could take place only theoretically: in reality UR even according to party lists will hardly gather less than 30%. While a half of the Moscow City Council are the deputies elected from districts. While in districts they can recognize any number of signatures void: either 1 or a half percent - we saw it even on the recent municipal elections. So if to take last municipal elections for precedent, it is clear – candidates promoted by United Russia will make not less than a half of the elected from the districts. So, on the following elections in the Moscow City Duma we are doomed to get the fraction of UR as the biggest in the capital parliament. Even if it won't have formal arithmetic majority, there’s still possibility to buy 1-2-3 voices.

Such deal does election of the same Sobyanin or some other appointee from the Kremlin for the next term highly probable. Though it gives citizens hope of possibility to choose the mayor from opposition in some 6-7 years... This hope will preserve mode all these years.

Anatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk

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