Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 163

With the Duma elections over, speculation is rife about the presidential election scheduled for June 1996. As widely reported, Yeltsin will not declare until February whether or not he will run for reelection. Gennady Zyuganov, despite leading the Communist party to electoral success on December 17, has numerous detractors in the party who have no use for his social-democratic rhetoric. To the dismay of red militants, the party’s electoral platform promised to lower taxes and studiously avoided words like Marxism-Leninism. Russian political analysts expect, therefore, that Zyuganov’s nomination will not be automatic. For their part, the democrats recognize the danger of repeating the divisive mistakes they committed during the Duma elections, and are under pressure to rally behind a single candidate who can be either Yeltsin or Yavlinsky. Another potential candidate, Mikhail Gorbachev, reiterated yesterday that he is inclined to run for president in June 1996. In his view, Yeltsin, much less Chernomyrdin, will not be able to carry the election because the results of the Duma balloting amounted to a vote of no confidence. Gorbachev recommended that Yeltsin begin looking for a successor. (7)