The powers and functions of Russian State Duma occupy a position similar to that of the Lower House elsewhere. The State Duma is the other House of the Federal Assembly. It consists of 450 deputies who are directly elected by the people through the system of the universal adult franchise by secret ballot and through the proportional system, i.e. the list system.

The voters elect half of its total members, i.e., 225 deputies from single-member constituencies. The other half by means of the List System, that is, the remaining 225 seats will be distributed amongst the political parties in proportion to the percentage of votes polled by them in the election of the Wet 225 deputies. 

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Powers and Functions of the Russian State Duma

The main powers and functions of Russian State Duma are the Executive Functions and Legislative Functions. According to article 103 of the Constitution of Russia, the State Duma has the power to perform the following functions:

Executive Functions of the Russian State Duma

Ratifying the Presidential appointments for the post of Chairman of the Government (Prime Minister).

To pass a vote of no-confidence against the government.

Also, to decide on the appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Central Bank of Russia.

To decide on the appointment and dismissal of the Chairman of the Accounting Chamber and half of its staff of auditors.

To decide on the appointment and dismissal of the Minister of Human Rights.

Also, to decide on matters relating to the grant of amnesty.

Leveling charges for the impeachment of the President.

Adoption of resolutions on all matters within its jurisdiction.

The State Duma can take action on the above matters in the form of resolutions adopted by a majority of the votes of the total deputies in the House except when the rules provide otherwise.

Legislative Functions of the Russian State Duma

The President and the Council of Ministers (Government), the Council of the Federation, the State Duma, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Arbitration Court and the legislative bodies of all the constituent units share the power to propose legislation according to the Russian Constitution.

The State Duma introduces Ordinary bills. While bills relating to financial matters like those dealing with the imposition, abolition, or exemption from taxes, issues relating to state loans, changes in the financial obligations of the state and any other expenses to be covered from the federal budget, shall be submitted to the State Duma in the form of a resolution passed by the Government of the Russian Federation.

The State Duma shall submit the Bills passed to the Council of the Federation within five days for ‘examination’ and who shall approve them by absolute majority. However, if within fourteen days if there is no action, the Bill is considers being passed by both Houses. In case, the Council rejects the Bill, the two Houses may set up a conciliatory commission to resolve the matter, after which the State Duma shall reconsider it. If the Council rejects it again, then the State Duma can re-pass it by a two-thirds majority of its total strength. Thus, Bill is considers being passed by both Houses. However, Article 106 provides that the Council of the Federation must as a compulsory matter consider the following types of bills.

These are:

  1. The Federal Budget.
  1. Federal taxes and duties.
  1. Financial, currency, credit, customs regulation, and money issues.
  1. Ratification and denunciation of international treaties and agreements concluded by Russia.
  1. Maintenance of the status and protection of the state borders of Russia and
  1. Matters pertaining to war and peace.

What happens after both houses pass the Bills?

After both houses pass the bills, according to Article 107, the bills are forward to the President for his assent. The must promulgate it within the next fourteen days. However, like heads of states elsewhere, the Russian President can exercise veto powers. He can reject the bill but the two Houses may re-pass it, with or without any changes, voting separately, by a two-thirds majority of their total strength. In such a situation, the President must sign it and promulgate it within seven days. Thus, the President enjoys suspensive veto power.

According to Article 135, Bills to amend the Constitution must be passed by the Council of the Federation by a three-fifths majority of its total strength and in the State Duma by a majority of its total membership. The President has no veto powers in such cases. Therefore, he must give his accent and promulgate it within fourteen days.

The State Duma and the Federal Council have the power to level charges of impeachment against the President. As well as to adopt a resolution for the same.

Qualification for Membership of State Duma

To be eligible to contest the elections a person must

He/she have to attain 21 years of age. Must be eligible to participate as a voter in the elections. Also as other qualifications as laid down by the law from time to time.

Obtained supporting signatures from at least one percent of the total voters of the constituency.

Qualification for a political party or alliance

A political party or an electoral alliance must obtain at least 100,000 supporting signatures from at least 7 regions. But not more than 15 percent from each region.

In the election, the party must get at least five percent of the total votes. So that seats can be allocated to it in accordance with proportional representation with List System.

In each House, a party must have at least 35 seats in order to entitle its members to be as chairman to the various commissions and committees of the House.

Deputies of the State Duma shall work on a professional permanent basis. They cannot work in any other paid activity elsewhere, except for teaching or for some scientific or creative activities.

Immunities of the Deputies

Like the members of the Council of the Federation, deputies of the State Duma too, enjoy certain immunities during their term of office. They may not be arrested, detained or searched except if detained at the scene of the crime. They may not be subjected to searches except in instances provided by the Federal Law for the sake of the safety of other people. Any issue relating to such immunities of the deputies may be resolved only by the State Duma itself upon the submission of the Procurator General of Russia.

Tenure of the State Duma

Following the amendment of the constitution in 2008, the members of the State Duma are for a term of five years. But maybe dissolved by the President before the expiry of its term under articles 111 and 117 of the Constitution. In case, the House gets dissolves, the President must immediately announce the dates of the next elections. So that the new House can be constituted within the next six months.

However, the State Duma cannot be dissolved under the following conditions:

If it has not completed one year of its term.

If it has leveled charges of impeachment against the President and the proceedings are yet to take place.

Also, if state emergency or martial law is in force in the country as a whole or in parts of it.

If the term of the President is about to expire within the next six months.

Conclusion

Thus, the Russian State Dumas are directly elected by the people through a system, i.e. The List System. The State Duma comprises of 450 Dupities. The Executive and Legislative are the main powers and functions of the Russian State Duma. To be members of the State Duma, a person should attain at least 21 years of age. Besides, he must get support signatures from at least one percent of the total voters of his constituency.

The tenure of the State Duma is 5 years. But the President can dissolve the State Duma before its expiry. In case, if the State Duma gets dissolves, it is the responsibility of the President to announce the dates for the elections of the State Duma.

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