The president’s press office said yesterday that the Kremlin had asked the Russian parliament to declare July 3 as an official day off in order to advance the date of Russia’s run-off presidential election. It had been expected that the vote would take place on either Sunday, July 7, or a week later, on July 14. The president’s request, which is not likely to be embraced by the Communist party leadership in the Duma, is aimed, on the one hand, at conducting the election in the middle of the week, rather than on a weekend. Many urban voters, who constitute a key portion of Yeltsin’s electorate, spend weekends at their country dachas and are less likely to vote on a Sunday. According to a Yeltsin aide, the Kremlin’s desire to advance the date of the election may also be related to a concern that the president’s campaign has peaked and that a later election date could hurt Yeltsin’s vote totals. (Reuter, June 17)
But Yeltsin apparently need not worry about his popularity in the Russian capital. Polling results showed that the Russian president had garnered just over 60 percent of the vote in Moscow, nearly four times the total for Zyuganov. Yeltsin’s political ally, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, ran even stronger in his own quest for reelection, receiving approximately 90 percent of the Moscow vote. (Reuter, June 17)
Wary Optimism in Foreign Capitals.