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POL354Y5 (11)
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Political Science

FEATURES OF A DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION FUNDAMENTAL / BASIC / HIGHEST LAW SUBSTANTIVE FUNCTION: IDENTIFY COLLECTIVE & INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES PROCEDURAL FUNCTION: PROVIDE CONTEXT FOR RULE OF LAW IDENTIFY BASIC STATE INSTITUTIONS: • POWERS • JURISDICTIONS • LIMITS • RELATIONS IDENTIFY TERRITORIAL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT & THEIR JURISDICTIONS CHALLENGES TO CONSTITUTIONALISM IN RUSSIA LACK OF HISTORY OF CONSTITUTIONALISM NEED TO BUILD ENTIRE NEW SYSTEM: COMPLEX SET OF TASKS NEED TO BE ACHIEVED SIMULTANEOUSLY ABSENCE OF A “LEGAL CULTURE” ABSENCE OF COMPARATIVE EXPERIENCE GAP BETWEEN AUTHORITY AND POWER SPECIFIC FEATURES OF ELTSIN’S CONSTITUTION UNILATERALLY INTRODUCED AMBIGUOUS APPROVAL AMBIGUITIES & OMISSIONS  “WAR OF LAWS” PRESIDENTIAL POWERS FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO INABILITY TO REACH CONSENSUS ON CONSTITUTION POLITICAL CULTURE: • PAST RESORT TO AUTHORITARIAN RULE IN CRISIS • NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TO "COMPROMISE" • NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TO "OPPOSITION" • LACK OF TOLERANCE OF DIVERSITY • CYNICISM OF POLITICS & POLITICIANS • L ACK OF RESPECT OF "LAW" (RULES, PROCEDURES) • FLUIDITY OF NATIONAL IDENTITY POLITICAL CIRCUMSTANCES: • ABSENCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES • POLARIZATION OF SOCIETY • FRAGMENTATION OF CENTRIST COALITION • PERSONALIZED POLITICAL LEADERSHIP • MUTUAL THREATS AT HIGH LEVEL • ABSENCE OF SECURITY FOR THOSE EXCLUDED FROM POWER • "WAR OF LAWS" & "MULTIPLE SOVEREIGNTIES" • ETHNIC TENSIONS (DOMESTIC & REGIONAL) COMPONENTS OF RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION PREAMBLE FOUNDATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES FEDERAL STRUCTURE *PRESIDENT *FEDERAL ASSEMBLY *GOVERNMENT JUDICIARY LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS NATIONAL STATE INSTITUTIONS OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION LEGISLATIVE POWER: FEDERAL ASSEMBLY Criteria for Democratization  Free and Fair Elections  Representation of population in a predetermined and fair manner  Parties forming Government and Opposition  Constitutionally defined, clear legislative powers  Responsibility for drafting, debating, approving laws  Two models: o Presidential: Division and balance of powers between executive and legislature; o Parliamentary: government sits in parliament and is held responsible by legislature. Soviet Heritage • Soviets (Councils) (no power, no elections, no representation, no legislative power); • Congress of Peoples’ Deputies (Gorbachev 1989); • President a figure-head (Chairman of Supreme Soviet). 1993 Eltsin Constitution Federal Assembly of two Houses: • Upper House: Federation Council (178 seats = 2 x 89 regions); • Lower House: State Duma (450 deputies = 225 single member constituencies / 225 party lists) (elected for 4-year term) (2007: all deputies elected by party lists / 7% threshold). • Federation Council Powers: (limited) o Confirm Presidential decrees, border changes, martial law, state of emergency; o Schedule presidential elections; o Appoint high court justices, procurator-general; o Adopt resolutions on matters under its jurisdiction; o Approve / veto State Duma legislation. • State Duma Powers: o Consent on presidential nominee for Chairman of Government; o Decide questions of confidence in Government; o Bring accusations against President to remove him from office (impeachment); o Adopt resolutions on matters under its jurisdiction. o Legislative Powers:  Draft laws and consider draft laws submitted by other state bodies and individual office holders;  Approve tax and expenditure bills from Government;  Pass laws (simple majority)  Override vetoes of laws by Federation Council & President o May be dissolved by President under certain conditions (e.g., 3x rejection of Presidential nominee for Chair of Government) Weaknesses of Federal Assembly: Structural Weaknesses: • Limited jurisdiction; • Strong presidency; • Lack of control over Government / President; • Complex procedures. Political Weaknesses: o Weak fragmented parties (Eltsin) / One-Party dominance (Putin); o Strongest parties anti-regime (LDPR, KPRF) (Eltsin) / liberal & centrist parties marginalized (Eltsin) and eliminated (Putin); o Roles: opposition (Eltsin) / puppet (Putin). • GOVERNMENT OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION Soviet Heritage  Council of Ministers (Supreme Soviet) (USSR Inc.): wide-ranging powers to plan, legislate, implement and monitor all public activities;  Consisted of Chair (Prime Minister), Deputy Chairs, Ministers, Chairs of State Committees;  Effectively subordinated to CPSU Politburo and Secretariat 1993 Constitution and the Russian “Government”  Exercises executive power. Chmn, Vice-Chmn, Ministers (110)  Chmn appointed by Pres w/ consent of Duma. If nomination rejected 3x by Duma, then Pres appoints Chmn, dissolves Duma & schedules new elections.(111-4)  Chmn presents proposals for structure of govt & nominates candidates for positions-- approved by Pres.  Responsibilities (114) include: o fed budget preparation (to Duma for approval) & implementation; o implementation of financial, credit & monetary policy & other domestic policies; implementation of foreign, security & defense policy; o issues resolutions & directives & ensures their implementation (may be annulled by Pres if unconstitutional or at variance with fed laws or Pres decrees).  Govt is disbanded if: o it resigns; o it is dismissed by Pres; o no confidence voted by Duma (majority). May be rejected by Pres. But, if Duma dismisses govt 2x w/i 3 months Pres must dismiss govt & Duma must be dissolve & election held. o Govt may put confidence vote before Duma. If Duma votes no confidence, Pres must decide: dismiss govt or dissolve Duma. FEATURES OF RUSSIAN "GOVERNMENT" Appointed Not Elected Subordinated To Two Elected, Competing Institutions Cabinet Does Not Consist of a "Team" or "Coalition" Loyal To PM or Accountable to Parliament Cabinet Headed by Appointed PM & Ministers Who Manage Independent Bureaucratic Fiefdoms (Ministries, Departments, Officials) Ministerial ‘Feudalism’ Explained By: • Absence Of "Legal" Culture / Rational – Legal N
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