Medvedev Picks Judge As Region's President

Constitutional CourtEbzeyev
President Dmitry Medvedev nominated a Constitutional Court judge as the new president of the North Caucasus republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, but the regional parliament failed to convene Thursday for his confirmation.

Missing the deadline to propose a candidate by two days, Medvedev late Wednesday nominated Boris Ebzeyev, 58, to replace the republic's current president, Mustafa Batdyev.

By law, a candidate proposed by the Kremlin must be approved by the regional lawmakers, though Karachayevo-Cherkessia's legislature -- known as the People's Assembly -- went on summer vacation July 21.

They were to convene for an emergency session Thursday to consider Ebzeyev's candidacy, RIA-Novosti cited the assembly's press service as saying Thursday.

But an assembly spokeswoman told The Moscow Times late Thursday afternoon that the deputies will meet only next week to consider the nomination. She declined to give further details. Political analysts said Ebzeyev would be confirmed for the post.

No regional legislature has rejected a Kremlin-proposed candidate since popular gubernatorial elections were scrapped in 2005 and replaced with a system tantamount to presidential appointment.

Ebzeyev, one of the country's top legal experts, participated in drafting the Constitution and has been a member of the Constitutional Court since 1991.

He was the first potential regional leader nominated by Medvedev since the president took office in May, and it is notable that both men have legal background, said Alexei Titkov, an analyst with the Institute of Regional Studies.

"Medvedev will likely support him in this post as one of his own men," Titkov said.

Ebzeyev is an ethnic Karachai, the largest indigenous group in the republic.

While Ebzeyev was born in what is now Kyrgyzstan and has lived most of his adult life in Saratov and Moscow, he is not new to politics in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, which are plagued by fierce competition between local clans.

In 1999, Ebzeyev ran for president in the republic, finishing third. Ebzeyev is known as one of the Constitutional Court's most outspoken judges. In 1995, he alone among 11 other judges criticized decrees issued by then-President Boris Yeltsin ordering federal troops to quash separatists in Chechnya, saying they violated the Constitution.