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|Wednesday, July 26, 2000, updated at 21:08(GMT+8)|
Russia's Upper House Passes Bill on Its ReformRussia's Federation Council, the upper house of the parliament, on Wednesday approved President Vladimir Putin's bill on changing the way of the council's formation to strengthen central authorities.
The bill was adopted by 119 votes for and 18 against with four abstentions after a one-month-long deadlock between the two chambers of parliament.
Under the bill, regional and territorial leaders in the Federation Council will be replaced by two permanently working representatives from each territory -- one from the legislative branch and the other from the executive branch.
All incumbent Federation Council members, also heads of territorial legislatures and administrations, shall be replaced by January 1, 2002.
The representative of the legislative branch will be elected by the territorial legislature, while that of the executive branch will be appointed by the top executive official -- governor of a territory or president of a federal republic in the Russian Federation -- and will need to be agreed on by two thirds of deputies of the territorial legislature.
The representatives, who must be no less than 30 years old, may be dismissed in the same way as they are appointed or elected, and the mandate of the senators will be extended from two to four years.
Putin submitted the bill on reforming the Federation Council to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on May 19, and the Duma ratified the bill in the second and third readings on June 23. The Federation Council, however, vetoed the bill on June 28.
0n July 17, a trilateral conciliatory commission, consisting of representatives from the two chambers of parliament and the president, reached a compromise on amendments submitted by the upper house to the Duma, which approved the amendatory bill two days later.
Under Russia's relevant laws, if the Federation Council fails to agree with the bill, the State Duma will be entitled to cancel the upper house's decision.
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