Disputes about a Constitutional Court decision on the possibility of governors runing for a third term are still rather vivid. Several analysts say that the court verdict allows St.Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev to be a candidate to the gubernatorial post for a third time. However, after looking into the court decision closely and talking to Constitutional Court judge Valery Zorkin, it is clear that the St.Petersburg Charter is to be amended first for Vladimir Yakovlev to take part in gubernatorial election.
The Constitutional Court decision states that the two authorized periods of governor service should be counted off since 1999. However, if some federation subjects had laws restricting governor service to two periods before 1999, local law-makers are authorized to decide independently whether or not to stick to the local norms or to the Constitutional Court decision for counting periods of governor service.
As concerning St.Petersburg, the law limiting governor service to two terms was adopted in April 1996; later, in January 1998, a law against holding the post of governor the for more than two terms was included in the St.Petersburg Charter. Thus, no third period is possible for St.Petersburg governor Vladimir Yakovlev.
Therefore, if no amendments are introduced to the St.Petersburg Charter to say that periods of Yakovlev’s governor service should be counted off since the 2000 governor elections, the current term of Vladimir Yakovlev is his second and the last one. There is no other variant. Is it possible to amend the charter? To amend it, Yakovlev’s followers should win no less than two thirds of seats in the Legislative Assembly during the next elections scheduled for December 2002. To tell the truth, this is hardly likely, which means that St.Petersburg may have a new governor in 2004.
Boris Vishnevsky Especially for PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/07/23/44522.html