The hand on the button: why Duma forbids itself to vote the proxy cards

The state Duma Committee on rules on Monday endorsed an amendment banning MP to convey your voice to a colleague in case of absence for good reason at the meetings of the chamber, Committee (Commission), which it is a member, and of the Council of the Duma.

Now if the MP was not in the room, he can press the button during voting by another member of his faction by proxy. Statement giving the votes, the Deputy wrote to the speaker on parliamentary letterhead indicating the cause of absence of time for which transmitted voice, and an indication of how to dispose of the voice. The transferability of votes at meetings of the chamber were introduced by the Duma in September 1999.

The draft amendments proposes to abolish this rule. Amendments to the regulations initiated by Vice-speaker of the state Duma from “United Russia” Sergei Neverov, head of the United Russia faction Vladimir Vasilyev and his first Deputy Andrei Isayev.

Absent for a valid reason, the member will be able to Express their position on any issue in the statement addressed to the speaker of Council or the Chairman of the Committee. However, a valid reason will now be considered only a temporary disability. There is also the suggestion of a number of deputies to add to the list of reasons for the Deputy’s participation in the official delegations of the Duma, Isayev said.

According to current regulations of the valid reasons of absence of the Deputy are the assignments for the disposal of the Duma leadership, participation in the implementation of the instructions of the Duma, the performance of civil obligations under the Russian law, temporary disability, vacation, birth of a child, marriage registration, death of close relatives, other family circumstances and force majeure.

The amendments are no disciplinary measures against truants, said a member of the rules Committee of the Communist Vladimir Pozdnyakov. The amendments will allow to identify truants who may be deprived of the mandate in accordance with the adopted in the spring of this year, the law specifies Isaev.

We are talking about the law, allowing to deprive of the Deputy mandate, which is for 30 days did not participate in the work of the Council (meetings of the chamber and Committee) and did not work with voters. The procedure of deprivation of the mandate of the starting faction or Committee of erring parliamentarians.

Immediately after the law came into force the mandate of the lost Ilya Ponomarev, which in 2015 takes place on criminal case of embezzlement at SKOLKOVO, and is located outside of Russia. The law was passed specifically for Ponomarev, told then a source close to the leadership of the state Duma, for his opposition activities.

When the deprivation of the mandate Ponomareva the meeting was attended by 123 deputies out of 450. This drew the attention of the opposition Deputy Dmitry Gudkov, calling the situation a farce.

Since then, no single party and no single Committee has initiated the deprivation of Deputy mandate. The presence of an attorney reduces the possibility of control, says Isaev. According to him, the faction “United Russia” to fix the lack of MPs will be the leaders of the intra-faction groups. We also discuss the Foundation proposal to fine MPs for absenteeism, Isayev said.

The meeting of the state Duma is competent, if attended by a majority of the total number of deputies of chamber. And the decision of the Committee taken by a majority vote of the total number of members of the Committee.

It is difficult to imagine how the Duma will support the attendance of this case, says Dmitry Gudkov. In his opinion, likely entered on duty in the faction that will go to the meetings. Deputies will not run around the room, but to vote for the nearest neighbor will be able, it is difficult to track, says Gudkov.

The initiative is not contrary to Federal law and consistent with the decisions of the constitutional court, concluded the Committee on rules and supported the project. Amendments may be considered at a Duma meeting on Friday, Isayev said.

Faction “Fair Russia” will support the resolution, but put it into practice will be difficult, says the Deputy Chairman of the faction Mikhail Emelyanov. “The reason for the absence of the Deputy at meetings are not always absenteeism. Those MPs who are actually working during meetings to be meetings of the government, the conciliation commissions, to work in the office, etc. So one good reason is not enough,” says Emelianov. According to him, the amendments to the regulations will act only be introduced if the real responsibility for their violation — deprivation of the mandate, liability, etc.

Emelyanov not sure of the results of discipline among the deputies. “You can drive away the deputies in the hall, but what they will do, jokes to poison? Meaningful political process only in the presence of deputies not to provide,” says Eser.

In previous convocations, the Deputy usually passed on to colleagues in the faction of your voice in the beginning — it wrote the relevant statements with an open date that was stored at the coordinator of the faction, reminds the analyst Ekaterina Shulman.

The physical absence of the people’s choice in voting is the least of those sins, which are subject to the deputies, she said. “It is logical that the member subscribes to the position of his faction, and who will press the button — he or the neighbor is not so important,” says Schulman.

The new leadership of the Duma clearly aims to move away from the offensive image of the “mad printer” and build at least the external weight of the chamber in the political system, for that is organizing a decent work environment, the analyst believes. But, in her opinion, the quality of the legislative process it is indirectly related. Although MPs will not be superfluous to spend more time in the plenary sessions and to hear what there all about, but the laws will not be better from increasing the number in the audience, says Shulman.

Earlier deputies have made to your work order changes, which are designed to force MPs to spend more time in the Duma. Instead of two weeks of plenary meetings in the month introduced three weeks, but reduced the number of meetings per week from three to two.

In December 2012, wide attention was the case of the voting card of the deceased Deputy. Then the state Duma adopted the “Dima Yakovlev law”, which forbade foreigners to adopt Russian orphans. Card United Russia deputies Vyacheslav Osipov voted by colleagues, although the Deputy had died.