Today, the Duma is debating the government’s revised austerity budget for 1997. Despite yesterday’s defeat on social welfare reform, First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov said he was guardedly optimistic that a compromise could be reached today. First Deputy Premier Anatoly Chubais also expressed cautious optimism that tomorrow the Duma will adopt the government’s proposed new tax code, which he called the key to everything else. Though the Duma’s budget committee has recommended rejection of the tax code, Chubais said he felt there was now "an understanding of sorts" between the government and parliament. He offered a compromise by saying that, if the Duma adopted the tax code in the first of its required three readings before recessing on June 24, the draft could be amended in the second reading in the fall. Chubais dismissed suggestions that President Yeltsin would dissolve parliament if it rejects the government’s proposals, saying fresh elections are not in anyone’s interest at present. (RTR, Reuter, June 17)
Nazdratenko Calls for Early Elections.