#14 - JRL 7214
June 7, 2003
Deputies Initiate Vote of No Confidence to Russian Government
The government will probably stay, but the precedent is more important
On June 10th, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) and the Yabloko faction are intended to present 90 signatures to the State Duma council. The signatures are necessary to include the question of the vote of no confidence on the agenda of the coming session of the Russian parliament's lower house.
Sources of the two parties informed that signatures had already been collected last week, so the further development of the situation solely depended on politicians' tactics. If the vote of no confidence takes place, centrist factions will have a decisive opinion in the decision-making process. Centrist deputies criticized the Russian government in the beginning of May. Boris Gryzlov, the head of the Russian Internal Ministry, a member of the United Russia party, accused the government of inefficient work. Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov claimed that the government was serving oligarchs.
United Russia common members behaved quietly after the congress in March. When Yabloko faction leader Grigory Yavlinsky set out an initiative to dismiss the cabinet of ministers, they claimed that Yavlinsky was subjected to considerations of the moment. Rightwing deputies stated that such intentions were too provocative.
In fact, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov does not have to be afraid of anything: if the voting of no confidence takes place, if the parliament makes a positive decision on the voting, Mr. Kasyanov will keep his post anyway. The first voting of no confidence is strictly of recommendation character, and the president has a right to ignore it. The Duma will have to vote twice to make its decision come into effect. The draft decree of the lower house of the Russian parliament (it was prepared by the Yabloko faction), runs that the cabinet of ministers is incapable of providing a real economic growth, ceasing the dependence of the Russian economy on the raw materials industrial sector. Yabloko deputies believe that there are seven factors to prove the growing crisis in the government. They say that the government is unable to guarantee security for Russia and Russian citizens, to restrain criminality. Vital economic reforms have failed, the government runs the anti-social policy, protecting the interests of large monopolies and oligarchs. The government has virtually refused to run the military reform. In addition to it, the cabinet of ministers takes hazardous decisions on account of momentary commercial interests. To crown it all, deputies think that the government is unable to run the administrative reform.
The Yabloko faction describes the current situation as the threshold of stagnation and instability due to either rough mistakes or mere inaction. "Changing the government timely implies the crisis prevention," Yabloko's statement to the Duma runs. There are no doubts that communists, agrarian parties, certain independent deputies share this point of view. However, 226 votes are needed to make the government quit. The Communist Party, the Agrarian Party, Yabloko have the total of 150 votes, and the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and the Union of Rightwing Forces have only 208 votes. This means that centrist factions, such as Unity, Fatherland - All Russia, Regions of Russia, People's Deputy group will have to make a decisive vote on the issue. However, the deputies of these factions do not make decisions without the Kremlin's approval. Yet, experts doubt that the Kremlin authorities will decide so: there is absolutely no point in disturbing the situation six months before elections. Therefore, the precedent to dismiss the Russian government will just remain a precedent.
Commenting on the situation, Unity's leader Vladimir Pekhtin said that "our style of working with the government is about searching for common positions, compromises on moot questions." Yet, Vladimir Pekhtin acknowledged that "the government hampers the reforms that the president initiates and solves vital issues very slowly."
At the same time, Grigory Yavlinsky originally stated that the Yabloko faction would be satisfied with just an opportunity for the Duma to discuss both the activity of the government on the whole and the activity of every minister in particular.
On the other hand, communists might not be happy about this situation. Discussing the dismissal of the Russian government means a lot to them, for it will prove the CPRF authority and the correctness of their stance. In this connection, communists will probably urge to hold massive actions of protest, meetings, demonstrations and strikes. Other leftist parties, like Rebirth of Russia party do not support the idea to dismiss the government. Gennady Seleznyov, the party's leader, stated that there was no point to make the government resign, for deputies would not have enough time to agree upon the new candidacy for the position of the prime minister.
Most likely, Yabloko faction deputies and communists will present 90 signatures to the Duma's Council. The lower house of the parliament will consider the issue pertaining to the vote of no confidence, although 226 votes are unlikely to make the decision efficient. As a result, the government will stay on its place, the Yabloko faction will have a precedent, and communists will have a reason to say that they were right. The Union of Rightwing Forces will have an opportunity to gloat, and centrist factions will ask the cabinet to pay them something back. Probably, it will be another entertainment for the president.