Russia's upper house passes law limiting its oversight functions

© RIA Novosti . Vladimir Fedorenko / Go to the photo bankThe speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov
The speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov - Sputnik International
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The upper house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday approved a bill reducing its own powers to approve newly appointed members.

The upper house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday approved a bill reducing its own powers to approve newly appointed members.

Under the law, which takes effect on January 1, 2011, new members of the Federation Council will assume office within 10 days of their appointment.

The law was harshly criticized by House Speaker Sergei Mironov as it strips the Federation Council of the power to conduct official checks on candidates.

Mironov, who leads the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, said on Tuesday the new procedure would "further increase corruption risks and erode the system of checks and balances in relations between the federal center and the regions."

He also reiterated his call to restore a direct popular vote for members of the upper house.

Currently each Russian region sends two unelected representatives to the 166-seat Federation Council.

MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti)

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