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Scrapping Governors' Elections


On 1 September 2004, in an attack by Chechen terrorists on a school in Beslan, a town in North Ossetia, more than 300 people died in the three-day siege, most of them children. In the aftermath of the attack President Putin argued for the urgent need to introduce a new law that would strengthen even more the "vertical of power."   

Russian special forces evacuating ossetian children. Photo: ITAR-TASS

The new law was adopted in December 2004. It put an end to governors' elections. Under the new system, the president chooses the candidate to the post of a regional governor. He presents his nomination to the regional parliament for approval. If the regional parliament rejects the candidate twice, the president can dissolve it.

Recently the law has been modified to allow a political party that wins the majority in the regional assembly to put forward a candidate for the post of governor for the consideration of the president. However, the president has retained the right to reject the winning party's candidate and to nominate his own.

The supporters of the new regional reform say that the new rules will strengthen the role of local parliaments and political parties. They may also help to reduce the dependence of governors on regional financial-industrial groups.

However, the opponents of the new measures point out that the scrapping of governors' elections is the infringement of democratic rights and a step toward authoritarianism.

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