Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 118

Magomedali Magomedov, chairman of Dagestan’s State Council, has decided to run for another term as head of the republic. He says he made the decision “out of a sense of responsibility to normalize the situation … in the republic, and in response to many appeals from labor collectives, social organizations and individual citizens.” If elected, Magomedov said, he will consider amending the republic’s constitution in order to move Dagestan to a presidential form of government. (Kommersant-daily, June 17)

Magomedov is a typical representative of the pre-perestroika Soviet nomenklatura. From 1990 to 1994, he was chairman of the Dagestani legislature, the Supreme Soviet. In 1994, he was elected chairman of the State Council. This is the highest body of the executive branch in the republic, on which representatives of Dagestan’s major ethnic groups have equal representation. Elections for the State Council and its chairman will take place on June 25 at a session of Dagestan’s Constitutional Assembly.

Magomedov’s decision to run again is no surprise. In March, the Dagestani parliament introduced a special constitutional amendment, repealing the provision that a member of one ethnic group could not be elected chairman two terms in a row. Most observers think Magomedov was behind the introduction of the amendment. Magomedov is an ethnic Dargin (Dagestan’s second largest ethnic group) and the amendment infuriated the Avar (Dagestan’s largest ethnic group) political elite. Mass protest meetings against the amendment took place. Magomedov’s decision to run for another term seems sure to complicate the situation in the republic still further.