After severalfalse starts, the Duma has passed a new law to regulate the conductof referenda allowed for by Russia’s constitution, Russian radioreported July 7. Either the Constitutional Assembly–the two housesof parliament meeting jointly–or a petition signed by two millionRussian citizens, can force a referendum. The law also lists severalsubjects which are not to be subject to such popular votes: thestatus of the subjects of the Russian Federation, any questionabout the state budget, and a change in or extension of the termsof the parliament and the president. This last provision may bea disappointment for Yeltsin whose aides have already suggestedthat he is considering prolonging his stay in office via referendum.
Lebed Tops Presidential Poll.