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Ran: the story of a failed election

General meeting of Russian Academy of Sciences

© Anton novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. General meeting of Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) decided to postpone the election of the President and the Presidium of the Academy, originally scheduled for 22 March, on the 20th of the number of Nov.

Moreover, the election procedure will probably be changed. A week ago on this result, the first day of the all-Russian meeting of academicians and corresponding members no one could think of.

General meeting

The date of the election of the President of Sciences – March 22 – appointed in November 2016. This week in March to the capital from all regions gathers most of 2065 members of the Academy to participate in the meeting of the Supreme management body of the Academy is the General meeting. And on March 21 with the election programs had to be presidential candidates ran: now occupying the post Vladimir Fortov, Director of the Institute of molecular biology named after V. A . Engelgardt, Alexander Makarov, and the Chairman of the Russian Foundation for basic research, Director of the Institute on laser and information technologies of RAS Vladislav Panchenko.

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The election of the President of the RAS has been postponed to autumn

However, on March 17 it became known that a group of scientists of the RAS, is going to speak at the General meeting with the initiative to postpone the election due to the fact that the existing Charter of the Academy the election of the President of the Academy is not clearly defined.

In spite of became a tradition to open the General meeting with a discussion of the reform of the RAS, and this time it started with the fact that all three candidates for President withdrew from the election. The FORTS proposed to move elections to the fall of this year to finalize the Charter of the Academy. According to the main scientific Secretary of RAS Michael Paltseva, doubts about the feasibility of holding elections under the current regulations there was still a month and a half ago.

The new version of the law on science, which is currently under discussion, includes provisions on presidential elections. Fingers assured that the new rules for the election will appear in the course of two months, within six months will be published the schedule of election preparations.

The scientist noted that the election procedure will remain, but may change, and the candidate will affirm the President of Russia.

The reason for the transfer

Despite the fact that the official reason for the postponement of elections called narraboth documents, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, as well as during the open debate, expressed other views from dissatisfaction with the actions of RAS and its President, to attempt to deprive the Academy of autonomy in decision-making.

Co-chair of the Society for scientific workers (OJT), public organizations of Russian scientists Alexander Fradkov told TASS that in the conditions when “Fortov tried to exert pressure, he chose the right tactics” – to withdraw his candidacy to avoid an uncontested election, the results of which, most likely, on this basis, would put into question.

The pressure on academics spoke and Nobel laureate Zhores Alferov, and reminded about the importance of elections. “We have to be very careful with the selection of the President of the Russian Academy. Because or it will work on the revival of the Academy of the country, or will agree,” – said Alferov.

The decision of the majority

The participants of the General meeting were asked to vote for three items: to hold elections not later than November 20, 2017; to authorize the Bureau to develop and adopt new rules for the election; to request the government to extend the powers of the Presidium, Vice-President and chief scientific Secretary of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences to new elections.

The highlight of the day was not so much the vote – in the debate it became clear that the majority supports the postponement of the elections in the fall, so that during the announcement of the agenda for a vote were sitting in the room, the scientists demanded to extend until the election and powers of the President of the RAS, which expire on March 27.

FORTS, despite the fact that he was touched, spoke against this initiative, because “I would not like to use official powers” and influence the development of the new election procedure. “Everyone should be equal. When one of the candidates is President, he does have other resources,” – said the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

However, the meeting decided to request the government to extend the powers Fortov.

The government’s response

The postponement of elections of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences has caused concern on the part of the government. So, at the meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he is concerned about the situation, and pointed out the need to accelerate the process of preparing documents for the elections of the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“We certainly do not care what happens in a major academic institution, this is not a social club, and the state Academy, which operates on the basis of state property, spending public money,” – said Medvedev. “It is necessary that there is a collapse did not come,” – said the Prime Minister, adding that he will call Fortwo. Moreover, Medvedev asked Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich to help RAS with the preparation of internal documents if required.

The previous elections of the President of RAS was held on may 29, 2013. Then the FORTS scored 58.3% of the votes, his competitors Zhores Alferov and Alexander Nekipelov gained, respectively, 26.3% and 10.9% of votes. To Fortov from 1991 to 2013 headed the RAS Yuri Osipov.

Elections this year will be the first after the major reforms of the Russian Academy of Sciences, held in 2013. In the reform of the Academy of Sciences was annexed by the Russian Academy of medical Sciences and the Russian Academy of agricultural Sciences. Asset management research institutes was transferred to a specially created Federal Agency for scientific organisations.

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