President Boris Yeltsin is expected to meet today with acting Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko to discuss tactics in the wake of last week’s refusal by the State Duma to approve Kirienko as prime minister. Rejected by a vote of 186 to 143, Kirienko had needed a minimum of 226 votes. No one had expected the Duma to approve his candidacy on the first vote. The votes against Kirienko were, however, lower than anticipated. Yeltsin immediately nominated Kirienko a second time. (RTR, April 9)
Duma factions are now expected to offer to support Kirienko’s candidacy in return for ministerial posts. Kirienko said after last week’s vote that he would not haggle over the composition of the cabinet. "There is no point in yielding. If I do, the government will not be a working team," he told a press conference.
There will in any case be fewer top-ranking jobs in the new cabinet. Kirienko is said to be planning to reappoint "at least half" of the "outgoing" ministers. The number of deputy prime ministers will be reduced from eight. A single first deputy premier, instead of two, will be given oversight of the economy: This may well be Mikhail Zadornov, presently acting Finance Minister. Kirienko is also said to be keen to make a clearer demarcation between the cabinet and the presidential administration, where Yeltsin’s economic aide Aleksandr Livshits is believed to be keen to return to the government. (RTR, April 9)
Meanwhile, the Russia is Our Home faction in the Duma is preparing a constitutional amendment to make the Speaker of the upper house of parliament — the Federation Council — the ex officio Vice President. This change would presumably be accompanied by another deleting the present constitutional provision that grants presidential duties, if the president is unable to fulfill them, to the prime minister for three months. The aim is to ensure that, should Yeltsin become incapacitated, his place would not be taken by the relatively inexperienced Kirienko, but instead, by a senior politician (such as the present speaker, Yegor Stroev).
New Joint Military Command.