Ruling party says stripping oppositionist Gudkov's Duma seat will set precedent
MOSCOW, September 14 - RAPSI. Head of the United Russia faction Andrei Vorobyov has stated that stripping A Just Russia party member Gennady Gudkov of his Duma seat will set a precedent and will show the consequences of MPs' involvement in business.
He said that the relevant State Duma commission ruled that the materials provided by the law enforcement authorities on Gudkov form sufficient grounds for putting the issue on the plenary meeting's agenda. The United Russia faction will be voting in favor of revoking Gudkov's mandate.
Vorobyov stressed that Russian legislation allows MPs to hold stakes in businesses, but does not allow them to take part in business management.
He also believes that there is no need to look for an underlying political motive in Gudkov's case.
"Those looking for a hidden political motive in this issue are mistaken," the United Russia faction head said.
Earlier, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika submitted a request to the State Duma for the premature termination of Gudkov's authorities.
United Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia have come out in favor of stripping Gudkov of his mandate; the number of their votes (238 and 56, respectively) is sufficient to pass the resolution. A Just Russia and the Communist Party form 64 and 92 votes against, respectively.
The opposition has submitted an inquiry to the Constitutional Court to establish whether it is lawful to deprive a lawmaker of his seat by way of an ordinary vote. But the State Duma commission has said that taking the matter to court will not stop the Duma from looking into it.
On Monday, the State Duma Commission for Control over the Credibility of State Deputies' Incomes and Expenses confirmed that A Just Russia party State Duma deputy Gennady Gudkov is involved in business activities.
After looking into all the material provided by the Investigative Committee, the Commission concluded that there is sufficient information regarding Gudkov's breach of State Duma deputy legislation and enough grounds to have his powers stripped from him.
According to the current Russian legislation, deputies are not permitted to be involved in business.
Previously, Alexander Shchukin, head of the Investigative Committee's Investigative Department, disclosed that Gudkov was involved in managing a construction company in Bulgaria.
In June, it was revealed that investigators were carrying out an inspection upon the application of Bulgarian citizen Ivaylo Zartov on Gudkov's purported investments in a Bulgarian firm and his alleged tax evasion in Russia. Gudkov said that Zartov had previous convictions in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria and was just trying to settle accounts with him.
Additionally, the Interior Ministry looked into the security businesses owned by the Gudkov family and found that a number of violations had been committed here too.
Gudkov believes these investigations are connected to his political opposition.
As most seats are held by United Russia party members, Gudkov sent letters to 50 United Russia deputies, asking them to vote against stripping him of his mandate.