Dmitry Litvinovich: Legal aspect of Yakut presidential election

In Yakutia, pre-term voting has been started for the citizen who will not be able to take part in the election on December 23: for geologists, meteorologists and for others, who work in taiga. Their voting papers will be sealed up in envelopes and dropped into voting boxes on December 23. Meanwhile, this Friday Russian Constitutional Court refused to consider the inquiry of Yakut Supreme Court about Russian and Yakut constitutions’ conformity. Yakut Constitution foresees that one could be elected president of the republic not more than twice, while the federal law formally lets Yakut acting president Mikhail Nikolaev be elected for the third time. It was already said much about political aspect of the election in Yakutia, while its legal aspect remains in the shadow. Article 67 of Yakut Constitution says: “Nobody can be elected President of the Republic more than twice.” Supreme Court of Russia already confirmed this article’s general lawfulness, while according to it, only the fact contradicts to the federal legislation, that impossibility of election for two terms one after another is not mentioned there. Though, now this detail does not have much importance. Mikhail Nikolaev has been occupying this post for almost 10 years and he does not intend to give it up. Public prosecutors and election committees are disputing about it for a long time. Subjects of federation cannot regulate rights and freedoms of a citizen, while it is the Russian Federation’s prerogative. Therefore, Article 67 of Yakut Constitution contradicts to Russian Constitution what about delimitation of the subjects and about contents. Rights and freedoms could be limited, though only by the federal law and only “at the rate that is necessary to protect constitutional order’ foundations, morality, health, and legal interests of citizens, the state’s defence and security” (Article 55 of Russian Constitution). Now, Nikolaev is registered by the rebulic’s election committee as a candidate, but this decision is being disputed in Yakut Supreme Court. According to one version, to protract time, though according to another version, the republic’s judges are afraid of possible responsibility, so they addressed to their Russian colleagues, insisting Yakut Constitution should be additionally checked up. The position of Nikolaev and of his supporters is known. In the latest redaction of federal law “About Common Principles of Organization of Legislative and Executive Bodies of the State Power of the Russian Federation’s Subjects”, it is foreseen, that limitating election a supreme official of a Federation Subject is being used without taking into account the term that started earlier than the law came into effect (in other words, before October 19, 1999). Nikolaev was elected in 1991 and 1996, therefore he has right to be elected president two times more. So, the Constitutional Court was right refusing to consider Yakut Supreme Court’s inquiry. In fact, the Constitutional Court’s chairman Marat Baglai referred to political aspect of Nikolaev’s case. A court examination during the election, Baglai said, could “negatively influence the electorate’s will and finally the election’s results,” then “the Constitutional Court would turn into a participant of the election campaign, which contradicts to its destination and principles of its activity.” Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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