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The bill on the new governor replacement procedure may be seriously amended
The bill on the new governor replacement procedure may be seriously amended, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told reporters on Tuesday. "Relevant amendments will be introduced," said Mr. Gryzlov. He admitted that possible amendments might be introduced in the document even by the author before the first reading. Mr. Gryzlov recalled that the first reading of the bill submitted by the president to the State Duma and envisaging a new routine for governor replacement, would be considered by the lower house on October 29. The document has been circulated in the regions. According to Mr. Gryzlov, at least half of the federation members should provide their opinions before the first reading. Mr. Gryzlov also noted that proposals to reform the governor appointment system were within the Constitution. "The Constitution does not regulate the process of replacing heads of federation members," said the speaker. Mr. Gryzlov emphasized that the reform would foster the role of the regional legislative assembly, with the elected governor being accountable to it," said the speaker. According to Mr. Gryzlov, some foreign media accusations that this measure is "undemocratic" should not be taken seriously. The speaker opined that this criticism was nothing but an attempt to influence democratic processes in Russia from the outside. He recalled that regional heads were appointed by the head of state in many countries of the world and that this did not cause any concerns in the world community. In particular, such practice is applied in Belgium, Germany and other countries. "We should preserve the democratic values that Russia has attained in the past 13 years, real and not merely declared ones," Mr. Gryzlov stressed at a meeting with reporters. He remarked that Russia fully observed human rights, freedom of expression, and that citizens could influence the executive bodies via the election system. Mr. Gryzlov expressed the opinion that any initiative should be approached from the point of view of the country's integrity and security. The Duma speaker noted that the current system of governor replacement had given no management mechanisms to the elected governors. Moreover, he added, the majority of governors have failed to secure appropriate development in the regions. In the past year, the number of state-supported regions increased to 31. Mr. Gryzlov added that he had long said that a federal representative should be appointed in the regions where federal subsidies exceeded 50% of the regional revenues.
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