Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 117

A struggle is under way over the date of the second round of the Russian presidential election. Officially, the second round of campaigning does not start until the Central Election Commission has announced the final tally for the first round and set the date for the second round. Parliament yesterday rejected Yeltsin’s call for Wednesday, July 3 to be chosen, though his Communist rival, Gennady Zyuganov, was said to have given his assent during a meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. Parliament is also deliberating a proposal put forward by deputies from the "Russia’s regions" and Yabloko factions to extend voting hours from 6 a.m. to midnight in the second round (in place of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the first round.) (RTR, June 19; Itar-Tass, June 20)

The sooner the date, and the longer the voting hours, the better the results for Yeltsin are expected to be. Yeltsin’s supporters tend to be urban dwellers who go to their country dachas on weekends during the summer. Zyuganov’s supporters are mainly blue-collar industrial workers, who have no dachas, and collective farm workers who live in the country anyway. Moreover, seven million students will take their final exams on June 27, after which they will disappear on vacation; they make up 6 percent of the electorate and are more likely to vote for Yeltsin than Zyuganov. Yeltsin has submitted a bill to parliament proposing that July 3, should be declared a public holiday, but the Communist faction in the Duma has so far refused to debate the proposal, saying it cannot do so until after the final results are announced. The Yeltsin team accused parliament of deliberately delaying setting the date. Yeltsin’s choice of July 3 is supported by the Central Election Commission on the novel grounds that setting the run-off for Sunday, July 7, as originally planned, would represent a violation of the public’s constitutionally guaranteed right to rest and recreation.

Yeltsin Strategies Outlined.