The Political Consultative Council recently created by President Boris Yeltsin met for the first time on July 18. All 43 parties and movements that took part in the December 1995 parliamentary elections were invited to send representatives, but the Communist party and Grigory Yavlinsky’s Yabloko party were conspicuous by their absence. The council decided to set up twelve committees to parallel those of the Duma. Ostensibly, the new body is supposed to function as a training ground for parliamentary hopefuls. But critics call it an unelected, unrepresentative and unconstitutional "para-parliament." Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev has warned that the Duma, either by appealing to the Constitutional Court or by adopting special legislation, will resist any efforts to create a "second parliament". The real fear is that Yeltsin might be tempted to dissolve the present Communist-dominated Duma and use the council as a substitute. (NTV, 18 July; Interfax, July 19)
Ukraine Maps Out Security Measures after Bomb Attack on Prime Minister.