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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Tells Regions to Cooperate

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament on Monday urged regional leaders to cooperate on a bill that would strip them of their legislative seats - or risk losing even more powers.

The bill was proposed by President Vladimir Putin as part of his efforts to tighten control over independent-minded regions. It would replace the regional leaders who make up the upper house of parliament with appointed legislators, strip provincial leaders of their legislative immunity from prosecution and allow Putin to dismiss governors who have violated the law.

The bill was approved by a wide margin in the lower house, the State Duma. But the upper house, the Federation Council, rejected the bill last week.

The Duma can override the Federation Council's veto with a two-thirds majority, and is expected to be able to muster the votes. Still, the Duma proposed forming a conciliatory commission with the upper house to work out a compromise version of the bill. The Federation Council has so far refused.

"If the Federation Council doesn't agree to form a conciliatory commission, the Duma will have only one option: overriding the veto,'' said Yelena Mizulina, a member of the liberal Yabloko faction, on Monday.

The leadership of the Federation Council was planning to meet on Tuesday to consider whether to work on a compromise, said Boris Nemtsov, a leader of the Duma's Union of Right Forces faction.