The State Duma is the lower house of the Federal Assembly, the parliament of the Russian Federation. The first Duma elections took place on 12 December 1993, simultaneously with the adoption of the new Constitution.
The Duma is elected for four years, but may be dismissed by the President under conditions stipulated in the Constitution.
Elections to the first convocation of the State Duma were set by presidential decree No.1400 of 21 September 1993, that dissolved the Congress of People's Deputies and Supreme Soviet. As an exception contained in the transitional provisions of the Constitution, the first convocation was elected for a two year term. The first convocation was elected on 12 December 1993, held its first plenary session on 11 January 1993, and met for the last time on 22 December 1995. Ivan P.Rybkin served as the first Chairman of the Duma, from 14 January 1994 to 17 January 1996. Gennadii N.Seleznev has served as Chairman since 17 January 1996.
The Duma's four year term runs out on 17 December 1999, but the Duma retains its powers until the next convocation begins work. If the Duma is not dismissed early, the next convocation should be elected on 19 December 1999 and begin work 18 January 2000.
Unofficially, the First Duma convocation was also called "the fifth State Duma", hearkening to the Tsarist era institutions that existed from 1906-1917. The current Duma is occasionally referred to as the "sixth Duma".
The basic powers of the State Duma are listed in article 103 of the Constitution. The first Convocation of the Duma decided not to adopt a law on its status as the successor to the Congress of People's Deputies. Instead, it gradually established its powers by adopting federal laws based on the new Constitution. The Duma requires 226 votes for the adoption of normative acts, except in cases when the Constitution requires a 2/3 or 3/5 quorum.
The State Duma adopts federal laws, federal constitutional laws, and constitutional amendments. These come into force after approval by the Federation Council, signature by the President, and publication. Federal laws are adopted by a simple majority (226 votes). Federal constitutional laws and constitutional amendments require a 2/3 majority (300 votes). A 2/3 majority is also required to override a presidential or Federation Council veto.
The Duma may initiate impeachment procedures against the President with a 2/3 vote.
The Duma confirms the Prime Minister as nominated by the President, and may make a vote of confidence in the Government of the Russian Federation.
The Duma has the power to appoint and remove the Chairman of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, appoint members to the Council of Directors of the Central Bank (12 members), appoint two representatives to the National Banking Council, and confirm the six members of the National Banking Council nominated by the Chairman of the Central Bank.
The Duma has the power to appoint and remove the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber, and half of its auditors.
The Duma has the power to appoint and remove the Human Rights Commissioner.
The Duma appoints five of the 15 members of the Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation.
The Duma appoints representatives of the State Duma to the Presidential Council on State Service.
The Duma appoints one of the fifteen members of the Collegium of the Federal Commission on the bonds market.
The Duma has the power to declare amnesties.
The Duma also chooses the firm that conducts the yearly audit of the Russian Central Bank.