President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, today is a special day for us all. New democratic times have begun. The parties now submit their proposals for the post of regional governor in accordance with the law we prepared and which has been adopted by the State Duma with the active support of United Russia. It is coming into force. Today the first region is undergoing this procedure in accordance with the new law, Sverdlovsk Region.
We will now discuss the proposals put forward by the ruling party in Sverdlovsk Region.
I would like to mention a few things that, in my opinion, are very important for the future development of our state. This is not merely a cosmetic change, but rather quite a substantial amendment to the rules for appointing governors, heads of the regions of the Russian Federation. For the first time this is truly being done by the parties themselves. Along with this, the parties formulate the proposals entirely on their own. The role of the Presidential Executive Office is administrative. The Executive Office participated in the consultations, but it nevertheless has a purely administrative role. This is now being done publicly and openly. And any closed discussion, so to speak, that does take place has no legal value, because ultimately parties already put forward public, prepared candidates. Accordingly, the President has the right to accept the nominations and make a choice, or to reject them if he deems them unworthy. But this will undoubtedly – I am sincerely convinced of this – help us promote democracy in our country.
I will of course keep watching how all this works, because there are all sorts of technical points to work out, but overall I think that this decision was correct. Ultimately, it really will help develop our political and party system.
This law gives parties additional powers. This is very good because we want our parties to be strong, to reflect the popular will and aspirations of the electorate, and take all decisions in accordance with instructions given to them by the electorate.
Therefore I am ready to hold consultations and listen to your proposals, which are already public. But I would like to note that United Russia is Russia’s most popular party, its ruling party, and in the near future, before the end of the year if I remember correctly, 14 regions will undergo this procedure. This is great work to promote democracy, to establish a viable mechanism which will allow us to make joint decisions about appointing the governors of Russian regions. So I would ask the party to organise this work, of course in regions where it has the legal ability to do so, that is where it has a majority and won the elections.
But of course the final word rests with the President. This was what we intended. I think that for our country this is both effective and correct.
I would like to say just two things. United Russia is indeed Russia’s leading political party. It has won this status. It has won as a result of political competition with other forces. Naturally, this situation is not absolute or eternal. It can change. Therefore, if a party can prove its ability to establish governing bodies, to put forward candidatures for the highest regional authority, this will emphasize that it has the necessary authority to do so. But in the event of their success, of course other parties would benefit from the same right.
This seems to me to be an additional incentive to wage a political struggle, to develop political activity not only at the national level of the Russian Federation, but also in the regions. This seems to me an additional, important motivation which will help, I repeat, the development of our political system.
And the second thing. In accordance with the authority vested in me by law, I will make the decision within the allotted timeframe.