Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 18

Boris Yeltsin’s vetoof the Duma-passed bill setting the rules for the upcomingparliamentary elections may delay that vote, even thoughpresidential aide Georgy Satarov told Moscow television May 23that such a delay was not likely. In his veto message, Yeltsinsaid that he wanted 300 deputies to be elected fromsingle-member districts and only 150 by party list, instead ofthe current 225-225 split; he also said that he wanted the Dumato enact provisions allowing government officials to run forelection, and establishing procedures for run-offs.Kommersant-daily, among others, suggested on May 23 that theveto would delay the vote because the Duma would not be able tooverride Yeltsin’s veto. Moreover, that paper said, the Dumawould never agree to Yeltsin’s plan to have more seats filledfrom single-member districts, an arrangement that would weakenexisting parties and help powerful local officials.

This situation–which could lead to a constitutionalcrisis, the delay of elections, or Yeltsin’s ordering electionsby decree as he did in December 1993–was further exacerbatedwhen Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky sharplycriticized the veto as a “blow” to democracy. Zhirinovsky’sopposition may help Yeltsin to win some support in the Duma,but almost certainly not enough to win the modifications theRussian president seeks.

Lebed Fears A “Second Chechnya.”