Anton Sidorko, leader of the Vladimir Communists, made yet another attempt to bring back direct elections for heads of towns and districts. He submitted a corresponding bill to the regional parliament six months ago. And when the deadline for its consideration came to an end, the discussion was put on the agenda. However, there was no hope that it would be passed. Earlier all attempts failed.
Anton Sidorko started to present his bill from afar. He said that in our difficult times it is impossible to realize plans and solve problems without citizens’ participation who should trust the authorities. Therefore, direct elections will help involve the population in the transformation of the country on the ground, and everyone will only benefit from this.
The Committee on Local Government, Land Relations and Administrative-Territorial Structure failed to form an opinion on this initiative. Its chairman Alexander Tsygansky only reported that the Prosecutor’s Office had comments on the document, while the governor did not support it due to the lack of opinions of the local authorities.
“As for the local government association not having an opinion, we all understand perfectly well. The association consists of 99% of the heads, who were elected by commissions, not by direct elections, so their point of view is quite obvious. Moreover, they are all from the same party, which today is not in favor of direct elections,” said Anton Sidorko.
On the other hand, the head of the association, Yevgeny Rychkov, is ready to be elected by direct election. And the governor is not afraid of popular vote.
In the last elections to the City Council of Vladimir, United Russia deputies went with proposals for direct elections.
“What in that election campaign took on the head of the city Andrey Stanislavovich Shokhin? The return of direct elections [of the head of the city]. At every stop there were agitators with capes “Let’s bring back direct elections.” It was a declaration: “Elect new deputies and immediately in Vladimir we will return direct elections of the mayor. We all remember it well,” added KPRF deputy Shamil Khabibullin.
Independent MP Sergei Kazakov said that he doesn’t understand United Russia, which is afraid of its voters and “keeps hiding behind the election through councils. Taxpayers support this government and would like to ask it directly, not through deputies.
The “Just Russia” faction was also in favor of direct elections. Deputy Sergei Biryukov promised that if the law is not adopted now, they will make similar proposals every three months.
“Now the situation has changed. Today more than ever, direct communication with the voters is needed. I propose to take this step [the return of direct elections of heads], the more so the committee profile is not against it. It is necessary to pass this law and make a gift to the voters. And if the party, which doubts the will and wisdom of the people, rejects this bill, then we will vote for it together and we will introduce [the bill] more often than once every six months. We will introduce a similar bill every three months. Anyway, we will have direct elections of heads of local government,” Biryukov said.
Members of the “United Russia” faction preferred to remain silent and not enter into a discussion of the bill. All the more there is always “on guard” Ivan Altukhov from the CPSU. The deputy remembered how in the Soviet times the chairmen of city executive committees were elected by the councils of people’s deputies and the system worked well. He said that he consulted with people, and they told him about the fatigue of elections. That is why it is not worth stirring up the political system.
Ivan Altukhov: I do not support this bill and I ask you not to think that because Anton Sergeevich [Sidorko] promised to break my nose. That’s absolutely not why.
Anton Sidorko: And today is a face-to-face meeting (laughter in the audience).
Ivan Altukhov: I ask Anton Sergeyevich not to be offended by what I’m about to say. My opinion is that this bill is populist. I do not understand why the CPRF contradicts the normal Soviet traditions.
The bill proposed by Sidorko did not get the necessary 20 deputy votes to pass. Thirteen voted for it, the same number was against it, and four deputies abstained.
Summing up, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Roman Kavinov joked that if the bill is put to a vote every three months, “we might pass it by the end of the convocation.