Under the new Constitution of 1993, the Russian President has a large number of real powers and functions. The powers and functions of the Russian President include Executive Powers, Legislative Powers, and Judicial Powers. Besides, he appoints the Prime Minister, other important Ministers of the Government, responsible to secure the National integrity of the country, etc.
- Powers and Functions of the Russian President
- Executive Powers of the Russian President
- Legislative Powers of the Russian President
- Judicial Powers of the Russian President
Powers and Functions of the Russian President
Executive Powers of the Russian President
Executive powers are of the most important powers and functions of the Russian President
He is the chief executive of the nation:
Section 2 of Article 80 makes the President the ‘Guarantor of the Constitution’. This implies that he has the power to take all measures required for protecting the constitution of the rights and freedoms of the people. Also, the sovereignty of the nation, its Independence, and National Integrity. Thus, he has the power to ensure that the different organs of the government work together harmoniously and concertedly in the attainment of the objectives laid down by the constitution of Russia.
According to Article 83 of the Constitution, the President shall appoint the Chairman of the Russian Government (Prime Minister) with the consent of the State Duma. The procedure is that the President will choose a Prime Minister of his choice and propose his/her name to the State Duma for the approval. If the State Duma rejects the proposal made by the President, three times consecutively, the President may propose another name or he may dissolve the State Duma and call for new elections. In case the State Duma is dissolved, the President can nominate a Prime Minister of his choice, and whom the new State Duma shall ratify after the elections. Thus, the State Duma has the power to check the President’s power to appoint the Prime Minister. The will of the President may prevail but subject to the response of the voters at the polls.
On the advice of the Prime Minister, the President also appoints the other ministers of the government. He has the power to take action on the resignation of the Government (Council of Ministers) i.e., whether to accept or to reject it. He appoints the staff to his office.
Unlike the President in a Parliamentary System, the Russian President has the right to preside over the meetings of the Government (Council of Ministers) of the Federation.
He has the power to issue decrees and other regulations, which are binding throughout the whole country. But in accordance with the Constitution of Russia and the federal laws. He can award state decorations, confer honorary titles and other specialized titles to those who deserve them.
Also, he can resolve issues relating to citizenship of the Federation. He can also grant political asylum to deserving foreigners in the country.
He determines the Nation’s domestic and foreign policy:
The President lays down the guidelines, on matters relating to the domestic and foreign policy of the nation. He is the representative of the nation in foreign relations. As such, he has the power to send or to recall ambassadors from Russia to other countries. Also to accept the credentials of the ambassadors from other countries in Russia.
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces:
It is the responsibility of the President to meet all threats to the sovereignty, security, and integrity of Russia. Therefore, he has the power to appoint or to dismiss the supreme command of the armed forces. He can declare Martial Law throughout the territory of Russia or any part thereof. Both the Houses of the Federal Assembly must, however, immediately ratify such a declaration. The President forms and heads the Security Council of the Federation. Also, he is the power to approve the military doctrine of the nation.
The President has the power to impose a state of emergency:
He has the power to impose a state emergency in the whole of Russia or any part thereof. However, this declaration requires the approval of the Federal Assembly to remain in force. During the period of Emergency, the President has the power to take such decisions, steps, and actions that are essential. In case of any aggression or threat of aggression against Russia, the President has the supreme responsibility to preserve, protect, defend, and secure the national integrity and sovereignty of the Russian Federation.
Legislative Powers of the Russian President
Another powers and functions of the Russian President are the Legislative powers.
- The President has the power to announce the elections of the State Duma. But in accordance with the Constitution of Russia and the Federal Laws.
- He can dissolve the State Duma according to the terms laid down in articles 111 and 117 of the Constitution. In the first case, if the State Duma rejects the proposals of the President to the post of Prime Minister, three times, the President can dissolve it and call for new elections instead. In the second case, if the State Duma expresses its no confidence against the Government twice within the period of three months, the President shall either announce the resignation of Government or dissolve the State Duma.
- He can introduce draft bills in the State Duma Bills passes by the Federal Assembly are sent to him for his assent in order to become law. The President in this regard has the power to exercise his veto power. However, if the two Houses reconsider such bills by a two-thirds majority of their respective total strength, the President is bound to give his assent within seven days. Thus the Constitution of Rusia gives him ‘Suspensive’ veto powers only.
- He can address the joint sittings of the Federal Assembly. He can send annual messages to both Houses on matters pertaining to the national situation. Also other basic directions regarding the internal and foreign policy of the nation. Also, he announces referendums in relation to constitutional amendments.
Judicial Powers of the Russian President
Another vital powers and functions of the Russian President are the Judicial powers.
- The President recommends to the Federal Council the persons to appoint as Judges of the Constitutional court, the Supreme Arbitration Court, and the Supreme Court of Russia. The Procurator-General may be appointed or removed from office by the Federal Council upon the recommendation made by him.
- Like heads of states elsewhere, the Russian President also has the power to pardon persons sentenced by the court.
- The President can use dispute settlement procedures to settle differences between the federal organs of state power and the organs of state power of the units (center-state disputes). However, if no agreement emerges, the matter will be referred to as the appropriate court of law.
- The President can nullify the actions of the executive bodies of the government of the units, if such actions contravene the Constitution of the Federation/the Federal Laws, the international obligations of Russia, or if they violate the civil and human rights and liberties of the citizens. However, the appropriate court of law will determine the final fate of such acts.
- The above-mentioned powers and function of the President of Russia reveal that he is the most powerful functionary in the country. In fact, the government of Russia works under his guidance, direction, supervision, and control. His executive, military, and diplomatic powers are highly authoritative. While his legislative powers are so vast that by issuing decrees he can undermine the legislature anytime.
- As the supreme commander of the armed forces, as the controller of the nuclear button, as the maker of the security policy of the state, as the conductor of foreign policy and relations, as the representative of the state in foreign affairs, as the popularly elected leader of the state, no one can match his power and position.
- Further, the procedure to impeach him is so complex that it is almost impossible to remove him from office. That is why some writers raised apprehensions about him becoming a dictator.
THE PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA
Russia is a republic with the President as the elected head of the state. Chapter IV of the Constitution of Russia lays down the provisions relating to this office.
The Qualifications Russia President:
Should be a citizen of the Russian Federation.
Should not be less than 35 years of age.
Must have been a resident of Russia for at least 10 years.
Should not be a member of any legislative or executive body of state power.
Should be a person of sound health and integrity.
METHOD OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT ELECTION
According to article 81 (I), The President shall be elected directly by the citizens of the Russian Federation based on a general equal direct vote by secret ballot. In order to be elected, a candidate must secure an absolute majority of the total votes polled. If in a multi-concerned contest no candidate gets the required no of votes, a second ballot will be held after three weeks. In this contest, only the top two candidates will be allowed to take part. Thus, ensuring that either one of the two will secure the required number of votes.
THE TENURE OF RUSSIAN PRESIDENT
The term of the President is six years. There is no bar on the number of times that a person can hold office. Except that no person can be President for more than two terms in succession. The President may resign from office before the expiry of his term. The office can also fall vacant due to sickness or any other incapacity of the incumbent, which may be temporary or permanent. In case of a temporary vacancy, the Prime Minister temporarily performs the functions of the president. He remains temporarily President until the President resumes his duties. In case of a permanent vacancy occurring due to death, resignation, etc. of the President, the Prime Minister takes over as acting President. But within three months, Presidential elections must be held.
PROCEDURE TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT
The Russian President can be impeached by the Federal Assembly through a specific process as per Article 93 of the Constitution, on Specific charges of high treason and other grave crimes. The State Duma may level charges for impeachment against the President. The process of impeachment can start if one-third of the total deputies of the State Duma agree to it. The matter will then be referred to a special commission formed by the State Duma for the purpose.
Then, the special commission will study the matter and submit its report to the State Duma for further discussion. The State Duma adopts a resolution to impeach the President by a two-thirds of its total membership. This matter shall be forwarded to the Federal Council where a two-thirds majority of its total membership must again pass it. The resolution will then be spent to the Supreme Court for confirmation and to the Constitutional Court for certifying that proper constitutional procedures have been followed throughout the entire process.
Thus, the procedure to impeach the Russian President is very complex. It involves the concurrence of the four major institutions of the government. Namely the State Duma, The Federal Council, The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of Russia.
From the above discussion, we can say that the powers and functions of the Russian President include the Executive Powers, Legislative Powers, and Judicial Powers. Due to his extensive powers, the Russian President holds an important place in the administrative, function of the government, military, the appointment of the judges and state Duma, etc.