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the right of competent persons and institutions to introduce for the consideration of a legislative body a bill or proposal to enact a new law or an amendment to or a repeal of existing legislation; legislative initiative entails the obligation to discuss the inclusion of the bill on the agenda of the legislative body.
Legislative initiative is the initial stage of the legislative process. As a rule, constitutions or other legislative acts determine who has the right of legislative initiative. In the USSR, holders of the right of legislative initiative are both houses of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, as well as the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Council of Ministers of the USSR, commissions of both houses of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, deputies of the Supreme So-viet of the USSR, the Supreme Court of the USSR, the Soviet trade unions represented by the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, and the Union republics, represented by their highest bodies of state power. In Union and autonomous republics holders of the right of legislative initiative are the relevant bodies of the republics.
The Program of the CPSU (1961) envisages the widening of the circle of right-holders of legislative initiative and the future granting of this right to the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League of the Soviet Union and other mass public organizations, represented by their all-Union or republic bodies.
Proposals to enact laws may originate with organizations or with private citizens who do not possess the right of legislative initiative. In a socialist society, many such proposals are made during national discussions of the most important bills; these proposals are considered and taken into account in the formulation of the laws.
In bourgeois states, the right of legislative initiative is most often granted to the chief of state, to deputies of the parliament, to the government, and to certain central governmental agencies. In Italy, Switzerland, the USA, and several other countries the right of popular initiative is also formally proclaimed—that is, the obligation to consider a bill signed by a certain number of voters (for example, in accordance with the Italian constitution, at least 50,000 signatures). In fact, legislative initiative is entirely concentrated in the hands of the executive branch; this is a characteristic of the decline of the bourgeois parliamentary system.
V. V. KRAVCHENKO