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  Monday, September 16, 2019
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The Russian State Duma is to hold its plenary session here today, deciding whether to pass a no-confidence vote on the country's Government, or not
Those advocating the Cabinet's resignation should obtain a simple parliamentary majority (226 votes, all told). However, absolutely all political experts believe that Mikhail Fradkov's Government will not step down. The discussion will get underway at 12.30 p.m. Moscow time, with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov reporting on the nationwide socio-economic situation and the results of his Cabinet's performance last year. The Government has not yet summed up official results of the 2004 period. The Economic Development and Trade Ministry, as well as the Russian Statistics Agency, have so far published preliminary statistics. It turns out that the Russian economy had performed worse last year on 2003 levels. The national GDP grew by 7.1 percent, increasing by 7.4 percent over the entire 2003 period. The Russian industry grew by 6.1 percent, with 2003 industrial-growth rates totalling seven percent. Twelve-percent inflation was registered in 2003, plunging down to 11.7 percent last year. However, the Government failed to attain projected ten-percent inflation levels. Meanwhile they are criticizing the Cabinet for the notorious benefits law, rather than for specific economic parameters. In other words, the Government decided to replace benefits with cash compensations not so long ago. Benefit-seekers staged all-out protests against this law. The Prime Minister would therefore be expected to focus on this issue. The State Duma's KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) faction initiated the no-confidence vote procedure January 21. A statement on passing a no-confidence vote on the Russian Cabinet was to have been signed by 90 deputies. However, 101 people from all house factions and groups inked this document. Three members of the United Russia faction also affixed their signatures, with Alexander Khinshtein subsequently annulling his signature. The statement's authors claim that the drafting and subsequent approval of the benefits law, as well as its subsequent implementation, highlight the Government's profound incompetence and its inability to predict the consequences of specific decisions. The statement contains standard leftist critical remarks with regard to the Cabinet, which has allegedly proved unable to curb inflation. Nor did it adopt any principled decisions for the sake of overhauling natural monopolists. The Government has failed to implement subsequent education and health reforms, as well as those inside the housing and municipal-utilities sector, the statement notes. The Russian Government's 12-month performance highlights its complete incompetence, those, who launched the no-confidence vote procedure, believe. For his own part, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov believes that most house members will not support the no-confidence statement. We will order some ministers to fulfil specific half-baked decisions in no more than two months, Gryzlov told journalists. The lower parliament house's 306-strong United Russia faction opposes any no-confidence vote. Talking to RIA Novosti, KPRF-faction members noted that they were interested in a secret no-confidence vote. Communist representatives believe that 226 deputies could support the afore-said statement in case of a secret vote. An open vote will give us about 130-150 supporters, deputy house speaker Valentin Kuptsov (KPRF faction) noted. Meanwhile Oleg Kovalev, chairman of the State Duma's house-regulations and work-organization committee, believes that an open vote was likely to take place. We hardly have any reasons for holding a secret vote, Kovalev said.
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