Communist deputies inRussia’s State Duma moved a step closer to their goal of impeachingPresident Boris Yeltsin yesterday when they mustered enough votes to get theissue put on the parliament’s agenda. The next stage is the creation of aparliamentary commission. It will consider the charges brought by the 215disgruntled parliamentarians who signed the appeal for impeachment.Originally scheduled for June 2, then set for June 11, this stage of theprocess now seems likely to be further put off until June 19. Communistfaction leader Gennady Zyuganov is away on a foreign trip. Until he returns,Communist deputies are unwilling to nominate their representatives to thecommission. (Russian agencies, June 9)
The next stage of the process–electing the members of the commission–willrequire the participation of 226 deputies. If and when it finally takesshape, the commission will have fifteen members, nominated by the variousparliamentary factions in proportion to their share of parliamentary seats.The chairman will be elected by the Duma by secret ballot. The Communistfaction is expected to claim three seats on the commission plus thechairmanship. The pro-government Russia is Our Home faction will be eligiblefor three seats; Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democrats and GrigoryYavlinsky’s Yabloko will get two seats each; while the People’s Power,Agrarian and Russian Regions factions will each get one.
Russia’s constitution makes it very hard for parliament to impeach thepresident, and the vague list of charges being brought against Yeltsin isvery unlikely to bring about his ouster. However, the president is forbiddento dissolve parliament once impeachment proceedings have begun, and it maywell be this aspect that most appealed to the deputies who signed the appeal.
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