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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Deputies will have to notify the authorities about their meetings with voters

Pursued a chaotic street meetings of deputies with voters can easily become a pretext for provocation, sometimes even against the wishes of the organizers. Some MPs have used a loophole in the law that under the guise of such “meetings” bring a crowd to the protests. In the state Duma decided to stop this practice by proposing the equal of a meeting of deputies with voters to rallies and demonstrations.

Yesterday in the state Duma was introduced a bill equating a meeting of deputies with voters to rallies and demonstrations.

“This place may be the planned activities of other political forces, often with opposite slogans. Not regulated traffic, which often results in traffic jams”

As explained by the author of the bill, the Deputy Irina White (“United Russia”), such appointments require “additional legal regulation, including in order to comply with public order, ensure the safety of participants of public events, and other citizens, the smooth functioning of public transport and other organizations, to ensure the normal life of any settlement in the Russian Federation”.

It is therefore proposed to change the procedure of organization of the MP meetings with voters held in the form of public events (except for meetings and pickets), for example in the form of a meeting, in particular to reduce the term of notice for such public events in the relevant authorities up to seven days before the day of the event (currently not later than ten days).

We will remind, in the end of last year the Moscow city Duma (MHD) ordered his deputies to negotiate with the authorities meeting with citizens and voters. In the explanatory note to the bill stated that “the procedure of holding meetings of deputies with voters is not defined, therefore, there is a gap in the legal regulation of this issue, which may lead to difficulties in law enforcement practice”.

Moscow city Duma Deputy Kirill Shields in a conversation with RBC stressed that if a member organizes a meeting, “it is not necessary to dissemble and to cover this public event, the term “meeting with voters”. “We need to comply with Federal law and to perform all necessary procedures for the organization of such mass events”, – said Shields.

Recall that in mid-December in the format of the meeting with the Deputy from the Communist party Valery Rashkin in Moscow held a rally against the expansion of paid Parking.

On Friday, the first Deputy Chairman of the faction “United Russia” in the state Duma Andrey Isaev said that the bill is aimed at improving the safety of such meetings. “In the “United Russia” do not seek to limit or prevent traditional meetings of deputies with voters. On the contrary, we strongly aim of the MPs to actively work with people. However, at meetings with voters held outdoors, in the open, an important issue is security of people who came to the reception to the Deputy. In particular, it is about ensuring places of meetings of the medical staff and if necessary other emergency services. Submitted to the Duma a bill by Irina Belykh, primarily aimed at improving safety during such events. According to the document, deputies will have to notify the authorities about their meetings with voters,” – said Isayev.

According to Isaev, such initiatives can be effective both at the Federal and at the regional level. The MP reminded that Moscow and St. Petersburg, the deputies had previously considered similar bills after a series of events formally organized as the meeting with the deputies, was turned into an inconsistent rallies. “Such events are not provided with necessary security measures. This place may be the planned activities of other political forces, often with opposite slogans. Not regulated traffic, which often results in traffic jams”, – said Isayev.

Experts believe that the meeting with the deputies now will be agreed to ensure the safety of the participants. This, in particular, aimed the scope at the entrance, the presence of emergency services, which observe in the event of an emergency.

Member of the expert Council of the Institute of socio-economic and political studies Alexei Zudin believes that the authors of the bill, that equals meeting of deputies with voters to rallies and demonstrations, they want to eliminate loopholes used by some parliamentarians. According to him, given the fact that Russia changed the electoral law and half of the state Duma elected in single-member constituencies, deputies to “focus more on meeting with voters, and the need for the Deputy spent considerable time working with the voters is obvious.”

“As practice shows, there is a need for legal regulation of activity called “meeting of deputies with voters”. Therefore, the adoption of such a law demanded and reasonable”, – says the analyst.

However, the expert does not exclude that the bill “can be interpreted expansively and could be used to exert pressure on grass-roots forms of activity and initiative.” “Here the big role will be played by law enforcement, the implementation of this law. Practice will show what may need to be added to this law”, – said Zudin.

He stressed that the Deputy is obliged to meet with voters and citizens have the right to Express themselves, to exercise their political rights, including through such meetings. “Here the most important that all this happened in the framework of the legislation. Do not become instruments of violation of the law and destabilization. These points must be considered and adjusted,” – says Zudin.

Head of the Department of General political science of the Higher school of Economics Leonid Polyakov said logical bill, which proposes to equate meeting members to rallies and demonstrations.

“Although the deputies of different levels are members of the legislature, still the current practice of the constitutional article that gives the citizens the right to assemble peacefully, without weapons, that is, in rallies and demonstrations, is that any large gathering of people in a modern city is not that kind of threat, but just a real problem. It requires logistics, participation of law enforcement agencies, traffic management and so on. All this requires coordination with the Executive or municipal authorities”, – the expert believes.

According to Polyakov, “if not to coordinate meetings of deputies with voters, it is possible to extremely unfavorable and unpredictable situation. “If the legislation to regulate the right to Assembly in the form of rallies and demonstrations, that such regulation should extend including a number of initiatives that relate to meetings of the deputies with their voters. It’s one thing when such a meeting is indoors, in a club, and another is if such a meeting is submitted on the territory of common use where there is communication, traffic, the people,” he explained.

Polyakov is sure that in the interests of themselves as legislators enjoy the right to a meeting with voters in the framework of statutory regulation, “and not just to act as people who may unintentionally be in the role of provocateurs major anti-social activities”. “This bill is logical, it is included in the General system of regulation of the constitutional right to freedom of rallies and demonstrations. If adopted, it will only add stability and rule of law in all such situations”, – concluded the expert.


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