Russia’s Communist-dominated StateDuma launched a bid yesterday to rule out the possibility that Boris Yeltsinwill run for president again in 2000. The Duma voted by 309 votes with 1abstention to approve, in the first reading, a bill that would ban asecond-term president from registering as a candidate for a presidentialelection. (Reuters, June 11) In theory, this possibility is ruled out byRussia’s constitution, which bans a third term in office. Analysts, however,suspect that, if Yeltsin decides to run again, he will argue that thisprovision does not apply to him. His argument: He was elected for his firstterm before the present constitution was introduced. The constitution bans atwo-term president from serving a third term–it does not ban him fromrunning for election for a third time. It is this loophole that the Duma’snew bill seeks to close. If Yeltsin is cherishing dreams of running again,however, he seems unlikely to sign the bill into law.
ROSNEFT TO BE FULLY PRIVATIZED BY END OF 1998.