President Yeltsin has vetoed a bill on the formation of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council. Conflict over the bill has been going on since the summer and hinges on whether the upper house, or "Senate," should be composed of regional leaders who are elected by the population or who are (as the vast majority are at present) appointed by the president. The Duma favors election, claiming that the constitutionally-determined separation of powers will be violated if the legislature contains members who are appointed by the executive branch. In its latest bill, therefore, the Duma requires regional leaders to be popularly elected before joining the upper house of parliament. This restraint on the president’s power of appointment was opposed not only by President Yeltsin but also by the Chairman of the Federation Council, Vladimir Shumeiko, a Yeltsin ally. Shumeiko visited Yeltsin in the hospital on November 11, shortly before the news of Yeltsin’s veto was announced. Parliament can override a presidential veto only by mustering the votes of at least two-thirds of the total number of members of both houses. Since this is highly unlikely to happen, the conflict is set to continue. (1)
Another Plot to Derail the Duma Election?