[JURIST] The Duma (official site in Russian), Russia's lower house of parliament, has passed first reading of legislation allowing the Russian Federation President to appoint regional governors subject to the approval of the region's legislative assembly. The governors were formerly chosen by direct election, so the new arrangement constitutes a significant political power shift towards the central government. The candidate must be submitted by the President 35 days prior to the incumbent's scheduled date for leaving office and the local legislative assembly has 14 days to review. If the selected official is rejected, the President has another 7 days to submit a second name for consideration. The law allows the President to disband the assembly if it rejects the second option. The bill would affect almost 90 different regions in Russia. The legislation is subject to two more readings, both anticipated to be no challenge, as the United Russia party, which is pro-government, holds a two-thirds majority in the Duma. If approved by the Duma, the bill would go to the Federation Council, and ultimately to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the proposer of the bill, for signing. JURIST's Paper Chase has background. Itar-Tass has more.