How is the governor elected


On June 1, 2012 the direct election of the governors will take place again. The individual changes to the electoral or appointment procedure of the governors since the existence of the Russian Federation are briefly presented here in chronological order.

Boris Gromov was governor of the Moscow region until May 2012. Gromov was replaced by Sergei Shoigu, who was elected by the Moscow regional parliament on the proposal of President Dmitri Medvedev. (& copy picture-alliance / AP)

Russia is currently divided into 83 regions, so-called federal subjects, including 21 republics (respubliki), nine districts (kraja), 46 regions (oblasti), two cities of federal importance (Moscow and St. Petersburg), one autonomous region (awtonomnaja oblast) and ten autonomous districts (awtonomnie okrugi). The heads of the respective regional executive, d. H. the regional government and administration, carry different titles. While they are usually referred to as president in the republics, in the districts and territories they carry the title of governor or head of administration. In the cities they are called mayors. However, the title "governors" has become the general term used when the heads of the executives of the federal subjects are spoken of in the plural. The rules governing the election and appointment procedures of governors have been changed several times since the Russian Federation was founded.

Regulations until 2004

After the end of the Soviet Union, the appointment procedure for governors was not clearly regulated. A law on the election of governors had existed since 1991. Its implementation was, however, repeatedly delayed by Yeltsin by introducing a "moratorium" on regional elections. In 1996 it was finally decided to introduce general and direct gubernatorial elections in principle. Since Russia has a federal structure, only basic rules for the election of governors are laid down at the national level. Further details are regulated by the laws of the respective federation subjects. Article 77, Paragraph 1 of the Russian Constitution defines the basic rules for the election of governors as follows: "The system of organs of state power of the republics, regions, territories, federal cities, the autonomous region and the autonomous districts is governed by the subjects of the Russian Federation, independently established in accordance with the foundations of the Constitutional Order of the Russian Federation and the general principles of the organization of representative and executive bodies of state power, which are determined by federal law. " The regulations were concretized in the law adopted in 1999 "On the general principles of the organization of legislative and executive organs of state power of the subjects of the Russian Federation". However, here, too, it was only stipulated that the appointment of the governors had to take place by election. How this should be structured was subject to the freedom of the Federation subjects. The maximum term of office was limited to two terms.

The scheme from 2004 to 2012

In 2004, Vladimir Putin announced the abolition of direct elections for governors. The reform was a response to the Beslan hostage-taking, during which terrorists occupied a school in the North Caucasus, and was intended to counter the looming terrorist threat by consolidating statehood. The legal basis for the reform was an amending law passed on December 11, 2004, which primarily affected the content of the 1999 law mentioned above. The substantial innovation was that the regulations for the election of governors were no longer determined by the federal subjects themselves, but were exclusively regulated centrally. This central regulation provided that the President of the Russian Federation proposes a candidate for the office of governor to the respective regional parliament. The members of the regional parliament had to vote on this proposal within 14 days. If they accepted the proposal, the candidate for governor was confirmed. If they rejected the proposal, the president had to propose either the same or a different candidate again within seven days. If parliament rejected the president's candidate a second time, the president had the option of appointing an interim governor and then holding consultations with parliament. As a result, the regional parliament had to vote a third time on a candidate for the president. In the event of a renewed rejection, the president had the right to dissolve the regional parliament and call new elections. The President's Decree No. 1603 of December 27, 2004, added to this rule. It stipulated that the regional parliaments should submit up to three candidate proposals to the Presidential Administration, from which the President then selected his candidate. In addition, the president could also recall governors if they lost his trust. The governors' maximum term of office has been extended from two to four terms.

The new regulation from 2012

With the signing of a new amendment law on May 2, 2012 by the incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev, a new regulation will come into force on June 1, 2012, through which the direct election of the governors was reintroduced. However, this new regulation does not imply a return to the regulations that were in place until 2004. Rather, it is a combination of the two previous regulations. The candidates for the office of governor are nominated by the parties represented in the regional parliament. Candidates who are not partisan can also be nominated. The nominees must have the support of 5 to 10% of the members of the local parliaments in their region (the exact number is determined regionally). It is also possible for citizens to register themselves by means of a self-application. In this case, applicants must show a number of supporter signatures that varies from region to region (between 0.5 and 2% of the eligible voters). The President then holds consultations with the nominees. This step was referred to as the "presidential filter" in the preparation of the law. To what extent the president can influence the selection of candidates is still unclear. Putin spoke out in favor of maintaining this "filter" in order to give the federal center rights to influence the gubernatorial elections and to intervene in the event that separatist or criminal forces should come to power. After the consultations with the President, candidates from the regional population stand for election. The election was won by the candidate who can collect more than 50% of the votes. In the future, too, the president can recall governors if they no longer have his trust. The maximum term of office was again reduced from four terms to two. Reading tips on the old regulation of the gubernatorial elections:
  • Nussberger, Angelika (2005): Fiktion Rechtsstaat. On the current development in Russia. In: Höhmann, Hans-Hemann / Pleines, Heiko / Schröder, Hans-Henning: Just an oil boom? Determining factors and perspectives of the Russian economic development. Münster, pp. 218, 219.
  • Golosov, Grigorii V .: The abolition of the gubernatorial elections. In: Russia-Analyzes No. 74 from 09/30/2005,