On January 9, the appointed representative of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow civilian administration to the Russian Federation Council, Akhmad Zavgaev, told Interfax that Chechnya’s new constitution, which will be formally unveiled for public debate after being approved by legal experts, envisages a presidential and not a parliamentary republic, with the republican president being elected for a five-year term (RFE/RL, January 10). Two days later, Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the pro-Moscow Chechen civilian administration, formally announced in a meeting with journalists that he intended to run for the post of Chechen president. The presidential election will take place, he added, after a new Chechen constitution is adopted, which will likely occur before the end of this year (Presscenter.ru, January 10).
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on December 27 that the elected separatist head of state of Chechnya, Aslan Maskhadov, had extended his presidential powers by decree for an additional year. Maskhadov was elected on January 27, 1997 in the presence of international monitors to a five-year term. On January 9, the pro-Maskhadov website, Chechenpress.com, commented: “Under the [separatist] Chechen constitution, the term of office of the president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is five years. That means that the next elections to supreme state bodies should have taken place on January 27, 2002. The reason why those elections cannot be held is obvious to us. It is the occupation by force of territories of the Chechen state by enemy troops. Therefore, in line with the main law of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, the term of office of the president is extended indefinitely.”