IF REGIONAL GOVERNORS ARE APPOINTED, THEY'LL NEED UNIFIED STANDARDS, HOLDS SENATE SPEAKER

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MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - A gubernatorial election reform is underway in Russia. Standards of governors' performance evaluation must get on a legislative footing with the reform, insists Speaker Sergei Mironov of the Federation Council, parliament's upper house.

"As soon as a regional governor is inaugurated, he ought to offer blueprints for social and economic progress of his region-average wages, housing construction figures, transport fares, and so on, and so forth. A table will be made next to fix statistics on twenty to thirty indices for the gubernatorial polling day. The figures may be compared to actual in a year or two," is how he sees the matter, Mr. Mironov said to the Moscow-based weekly Itogi (Summing-Up).

In a recent initiative, President Vladimir Putin called to abolish gubernatorial elections by direct ballot. As he sees it, governors ought to be elected by regional diets on the federal President's nominations. The proposed reform offers a democratic way to ensure unity of executive bodies in compliance with the acting Constitution, deems the Speaker. As for direct ballot, "the gubernatorial election turnout is at a 20 per cent validity threshold. A victor needs 50 per cent plus one vote-so his actual siding is 10-15 per cent, and no one cares to know what the other 90 per cent think of it," he reasons.

There is another cause for alarm with gubernatorial elections. All too often, the new governor rewards his sponsors with cosy jobs, property and economic preferences, and starts this benefit distribution the day his election campaign is over. If the federal centre has whatever objections, the governor says he has been elected by the people, and so is immune to criticisms. As soon as he settles his scores, the governor has a quiet life for a year or two before he has to get busy with another pre-election campaign, said the Senator.

He does not think it worthwhile to revive an old practice of direct gubernatorial appointment by the President. "Mr. Putin has come up with another arrangement-for local legislatures to elect their governors."

As for local self-government, Russia ought to firmly stick to direct ballot here-at any rate, at the district and township level. Sergei Mironov is convinced on that point.

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