Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 230

Russia’s "Big Four" (the president, the prime minister, and the speakers of the two houses of parliament) met yesterday to finalize the agenda for tomorrow’s roundtable meeting, at which the issue of land reform was to have been discussed by President Boris Yeltsin and 25 representatives of political parties and trade unions. At yesterday’s meeting, Yeltsin held out an unexpected olive branch to the State Duma, offering it an increased role in decision-making. Yeltsin said that, subject to certain amendments, he would sign the Law on Government which he has until now refused to sanction. The law would give the Duma the right to approve the president’s nominations not only for the post of prime minister but also for deputy premiers. Yeltsin responded to demands for a coalition government with Communist participation by telling yesterday’s meeting that he thinks it likely that Russia will eventually have such a coalition government — but not until after the next presidential election, due in 2000. (ORT, December 9)

Ministry of Justice to be Directly Subordinated to President.