Political scientists think it is likely to become more active and affluent.
The participants of the conference “State Duma 2016”, organized by the Institute of socio-economic and political researches and International Analytical Center “Rethinking Russia”, consider that the new State Duma will be more active and affluent. Alexey Zudin, member of the Advisory Board of the ISEPR Foundation, is sure that the political reform will continue after the elections: “The 7th Duma will establish new relations with the government – even before the elections it is already clear that it will be different from the previous one in terms of the increased political weight, this will be the net effect of a mixed elections model”. The expert argues that the election campaign of the ruling party was deliberately pushed closer to the governmental program, so the real political status of the government will change. Zudin is sure that government’s accountability to the parliamentary majority represented by United Russia will acquire political character and the center of decision-making will drift – besides the president, the pro-president majority in the lower chamber will be at the forefront.
Much emphasis at the conference was placed on the priorities of the future deputies. The president of the St. Petersburg Politics Fund Mikhail Vinogradov, who recently attended the meeting of the deputy chief of staff of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin with the political scientists, retold the key points of the major internal policy supervisor: “With the current approach to the elections we get three deputies’ duties. Representative duty – understanding interests and worries of the voters. Controlling duty – protecting voters’ interests especially in the face of local authorities. Expert duty – being able to suggest effective solutions”. The ISEPR Foundation research director Alexander Pozhalov noticed that due to the mixed constituencies configuration future deputies will have competence in all the problems of different regions. Pozhalov thinks that the winners in several mixed constituencies of a region will be a candidates pool for the authorities at the governors’ elections 2017–2020, and the winner or a strong runner-up in a constituency from other parties will be a candidates pool for the opposition. Director general of the analytical center “Moscow region” Alexey Chadaev is sure that a deputy should be a voters’ lobbyist and local and regional agendas should be prioritized over the federal one.
Mikhail Vinogradov says that there are now two conflicting campaigns: “Emaciated competition by party lists, where opposition is not eager to do anything, and bright campaigns of candidates in single-mandate constituencies”. However, the latter are not actually familiar to the voters, for example, there are no debates in Moscow, there are no bright examples in the regions. Vinogradov predicts that there will be several types of single-mandate candidates: old-timers, strong politicians with charisma and potential; idealists and, finally, careerists who need mandates only to make connections in Moscow. The expert says that there is a chance that they will become strong and will kick up a fuss or, vice versa, they will need stronger partners to make connections.
Political scientist Konstantin Kalachev argues that single-mandate deputies will seek to run for the office again, so they will have to retain their popularity in the constituencies. The expert considers that it is not only about lobbying voters’ interests, helpfulness, performance and interest in local problems, but it is also about maintaining reputation. He adds that the political weight of a single-mandate deputy will be determined not only by the authorities’ loyalty but also by the support in the constituency, but the party’s loyalty is still primary. Kalachev reminds that Duma’s weight is determined by the readiness of its leadership and its majority to remember that it is not only a legislative but also a representative body, that it represents the voters’ interests. The expert concludes that for a start the size of the idiotism of the deputies who want to get their 15 minutes of fame should be reduced.