Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 23

The Chechen authorities have issued the official results of last week’s presidential elections. Aslan Maskhadov won 59.3 percent of the votes, Shamil Basaev got 23.5 percent, and former president Zelimkhan Yandarbiev finished with 10.1 percent. The remaining ten candidates polled 7.1 percent between them. President Yeltsin sent Maskhadov a message of congratulations, saying that Russia is ready for negotiations toward "a political settlement of the relations between bodies of state power of the Russian Federation and the Chechen republic."

Maskhadov repeated that he is "ready for any talks with Moscow," but said they will not begin until after his inauguration, which is set for February 12. Mintimer Shaimiev of Tatarstan is the first leader to have announced his intention of attending the ceremony at which, Chechen officials have said, toasts will be drunk in "mineral water or Pepsi," as befits a republic where the majority of the population are Muslims. Maskhadov has also stated that he will wait until after the inauguration to announce his new government, and that he has not yet decided whether or not he will take the post of prime minister himself. He spent the weekend in neighboring Ingushetia, in extended talks with President Ruslan Aushev. Moscow is hoping that Chechnya will adopt a modified version of Ingushetia’s free economic zone. (Itar-Tass, February 1-2; Radio Russia, February 2)

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