Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, back in Moscow after his visit to China, said he will appeal today to the Duma to interrupt its summer recess to vote on the government’s 1997 austerity mini-budget and proposed cuts in welfare spending. (Itar-Tass, June 30) Communist faction leader Gennady Zyuganov has already said that parliament may reconvene on July 12 to settle these issues, left unresolved when the Duma broke up on June 24.
In his capacity as finance minister, however, Anatoly Chubais has made it clear that the government will press ahead with its budget cuts regardless of what parliament decides. Tensions mounted between the administration and the parliament yesterday as Yeltsin accused both houses of parliament of violating the constitution by committing what he claims were voting irregularities when they overrode a presidential veto and adopted two controversial bills last month. (Itar-Tass, June 30) Yeltsin is refusing to sign either bill — one on the government and the other on the fate of art treasures seized by the USSR at the end of World War II — into law. Parliament’s lawyers have denied Yeltsin’s charge, pointing out that the constitution says nothing about how votes have to be conducted. They are themselves accusing Yeltsin of failing to carry out his constitutional duty in refusing to sign the bills into law. Parliamentarians suspect Yeltsin may use this issue as a stick to beat the Duma and as a pretext to call for its dissolution.
No Winners in Regional Elections.