The Russian constitution provides that the president names the prime minister, subject to approval by a majority of the Duma, the lower house of parliament. That requires 226 affirmative votes in the 450-member body. The Duma on April 10 voted 186 against and 143 for Kirienko, with 5 abstentions and 116 no-shows.
Under the rules, President Boris Yeltsin must re-nominate Kirienko or send another name to the Duma within a week, and Yeltsin has already said he will ask for another vote on Kirienko. If the Duma rejects the candidate a second time, the procedure is repeated. After a third rejection, the president may dissolve the Duma and call new elections. The Duma may be divided, but political analysts in Moscow were nearly unanimous in predicting his eventual confirmation. For most Duma deputies, Russian pundits say, the prospect of facing the voters is sufficiently horrifying to ensure approval of Yeltsin’s nominee on the second or third ballot. NOTES