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    Russia's Duma to consider new upper house formation bill

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    Russia's lower house of parliament plans to consider a first reading of a bill in April, which would create a new procedure for forming the upper house, an MP said Thursday.

    ST. PETERSBURG, March 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's lower house of parliament plans to consider a first reading of a bill in April, which would create a new procedure for forming the upper house, an MP said Thursday.

    "I think this draft law should be adopted in its first reading in April. We will examine it thoroughly, assess every word," Vladimir Pligin, the head of the State Duma's constitutional legislation and state development committee, told journalists.

    Deputies of the St. Petersburg legislative assembly submitted the draft law to the lower house of Russia's parliament, the State Duma, proposing electing senators by a nationwide vote, February 14.

    Deputies said that presently the upper house of Russia's parliament, the Federation Council, comprises two representatives from each region, one elected by the region's legislature and the other appointed by the Federation constituent member's chief executive.

    The bill submitted by the St. Petersburg deputies proposes that senators be elected by regional residents from among candidates nominated by the Federation entity's legislative or executive body.

    Regional chief executives will have to nominate at least two candidates.

    Pligin said the Duma will actively discuss the bill with the regions. "I have a feeling that in principle Federation constituent members would be interested in this law," he said.

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