Medvedev against changing system of choosing regional governors

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Moscow, Nov 19 (UNI) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has opposed changing the current system of choosing regional governors, saying the system was ''optimal.'' ''Changing the gubernatorial election system is both unrealistic and unacceptable,'' Mr Medvedev said.

''Should any governor find it inadequate, they should understand they are not private individuals and can offer me their resignation,'' he said.

Mr Medvedev was reacting to a statement made by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov yesterday that Russia could reinstate direct elections for governors in the regions as a more democratic method of selecting regional governors.

Mr Medvedev, however, said some leverage should be imposed on governors to make sure their work is efficient.

''This issue can be settled through public, representative bodies, so that a procedure be established for swift and effective dismissal. I think this procedure fully complies with the Constitution and can be put into practice,'' he said.

Currently, the heads of Russia's 89 regions are nominated by the President and approved by the regional legislatures.

The 2004 decision made by former President Vladimir Putin to abolish direct elections for regional governors in favour of presidential nominations fueled Western criticism that Russia was backsliding from democracy.


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