Russian President Vladimir Putin Introduces Bill to Reform Upper House of Parliament
June 29, 2012
By: Franz Essig | Printer Friendly
On June 26, Russian President Vladmir Putin introduced a bill to the Russian parliament that would reform the way that members of the Federal Council, Russia’s upper house, would be selected, in what Putin claims is an effort to make parliament more democratic. The bill is expected to pass easily through both houses of parliament, the Associated Press reported.
The new process would allow members of the Federal Council to be selected by candidates for regional governorships during their election campaigns, not dissimilar to the Vice-President’s selection as part of a Presidential ticket. Putin says the change will allow the upper house to “become more regional in its structure,” according to the RIA Novosti, Russia’s state-owned newspaper. Under the current system, the Federal Council is made up of a number of government officials and rich-businessmen with government affiliations and does not include regional representation.
While Putin claims that the new system will be more democratic, analysts believe that the bill will do little to democratize the country. Alexander Kynev, an independent political expert, noted that the process would still be far from civilian-controlled: “As before, the house will be formed not by the voters but through some strange procedures.”
In March, Vladimir Putin was elected to his third term as President, despite outrage and protests around the country. Putin’s election came at a time when a growing number of Russians, particularly in the middle class, are discontent with the current state of democracy in Russia. In May, demonstrations of tens of thousands turned violent and police arrested hundreds.
For previous news about Russia, please see:
Anti-Putin Protests Blocked in Russia
Associated Press (via Huffington Post) - Russia’s Parliament Ordered to Reform by Putin
RIA Novosti – Putin Sets Out Reform of Russia’s Upper House
Telegraph - Vladimir Putin vows to 'strengthen Russian democracy' – as 120 protesters are arrested