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    Communists Stage Walk-Out Over Floating Mandate Bill

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    Communist party deputies walked out of a hearing in the State Duma on Friday, in a rare sign of protest, against a bill on "floating mandates."

    Communist party deputies walked out of a hearing in the State Duma on Friday, in a rare sign of protest, against a bill on "floating mandates."

    The proposed bill would give party leaders the authority to decide who to give a deputy's vacant mandate.

    In line with existing legislation, a vacant mandate is given to a candidate from the same region while the party leadership has no right to authority to influence the process.

    The new bill was introduced by all four State Duma factions and passed in the first reading in January.

    However, a State Duma committee proposed to scrap the draft document after the second reading.

    The bill was up for discussion by lawmakers again on July 11, but opposition factions requested a postponement of the debates until after they discussed the document with President Vladimir Putin on July 18.

    Nevertheless, the bill was put on the agenda of the State Duma session on Friday at the request of the relevant committee.

    A walk-out has been rarely used by Russian opposition lawmakers as it is considered an extreme form of protest showing a serious rift among parliamentary factions. A conflict of this magnitude could be generally resolved only by interference of the Russian president.

    A Just Russia faction in the State Duma walked out on then prime minister and president-elect Vladimir Putin during his final report to the State Duma on April 11, prompted by Putin’s comment on the situation in Astrakhan, where a mayoral candidate with A Just Russia party, Oleg Shein, was on a hunger strike to protest alleged vote fraud that he said cost him his victory.

    On October 14, 2009, three opposition parties in the lower house of parliament walked out of a State Duma session in protest against alleged violations in the October 11 election to the Moscow Duma, which the ruling United Russia party won by a landslide.

     

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