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The State Duma


The State Duma, as the lower house of parliament, is formed through direct nationwide elections and represents the countrys population as a whole. The name State Duma was borrowed from the representative legislative body that existed in prerevolutionary Russia in 1906-1917. All in all 450 deputies are elected to the State Duma for a term of four years. 

State Duma. Photo: ITAR-TASS

The main function of the State Duma is the drawing up of laws. Before being brought to the attention of the deputies at a State Duma session, bills are worked out and refined in the permanent State Duma committees, which specialize in a particular aspect of the legislative process.

The Duma has exclusive jurisdiction over approving the presidents appointment of the chairman of government (i.e., prime-minister), the raising of votes of confidence in the government, the nomination and dismissal of certain top government officials, the granting of amnesty, and the initiation of charges against the president during the impeachment procedure.

The president can dissolve the State Duma in the event that it rejects his candidate for the post of prime minister three times or if it raises a vote of no confidence in the government twice in the course of three months. This presidential prerogative is subject to a number of limitations, however. For example, after dissolving the Duma the president must set the date for new elections, so that the newly-elected Duma could begin its work no later than four months after the dissolution of the previous one.

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