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The State Duma adopted on Wednesday in three readings amendments to the federal constitutional law On the Russian Government
The State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) adopted on Wednesday in three readings amendments to the federal constitutional law On the Russian Government, which permitted the government members to take executive positions in parties. With the necessary 300 votes, 344 deputies voted for the document, 69 voted against with 13 abstentions. The State Duma profile committee on constitutional legislation and state construction said in regard to the bill that it did not "contradict the Russian Constitution, and its adoption would not demand changes introduced to the current legislation." State Duma Vice Speaker Vladimir Pekhtin (United Russia) said the talk about lifting the restriction for government members to take posts in political parties had been started long before. Power structuring on political directions is an objective and necessary phenomenon, which is usual for developed and democratic countries, he believes. "Today Russia as never before needs clear and coordinated work of all branches of power. The executive authority should be responsible to the people, as well as the legislative authority should be. The amendments to the law on government meet these aims first of all," emphasized Mr. Pekhtin. He recalled that the current law on the government did not ban the ministers from belonging to this or that political party, but banned them from taking any posts in public organizations, which parties are. Mr. Pekhtin, who is one of the initiators of amendments adopted today, said that such a situation in the legislation contradicted common sense. "Government members are the same citizens of their country and must have the right not to conceal their views, as well as to take posts in the party which correspond to their organizational capabilities," said the vice speaker. Mr. Pekhtin noted that the talk was not about "momentary gain" for a certain party. He said the law preserved some restrictions, which envisaged that high-ranking officials would not be able to use their post in the interests of this or that political structure. The document will now be submitted to the Federation Council (upper house)
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