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Communists drop planned Yeltsin no-confidence vote

Region no confidence October 21, 1997
Web posted at: 11:38 a.m. EDT (1538 GMT)

MOSCOW (CNN) -- Communist deputies in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, have dropped their plan to hold a parliamentary no-confidence vote on President Boris Yeltsin's government, party leaderGennady Zyuganov said Tuesday.

The Communist party, which dominates the Duma, had planned to hold the no-confidence vote on Wednesday.

"We believe in real actions. Therefore the faction has decided to drop the no-confidence motion in the government which we initiated," Zyuganov told reporters after a meeting of Communist deputies in the State Duma.

The decision to drop the vote had been expected. Yeltsin got encouraging news from the opposition earlier Tuesday, after a meeting with a party chief allied with the Communists.

"The president took steps to meet practically all our demands. After a normal conversation has started, I think there will be a positive decision," Nikolai Ryzhkov, head of the People's Power party, told reporters after a meeting with Yeltsin, who had appealed to the State Duma to drop the no-confidence vote.

Zyuganov's party -- the largest opposition group -- initiated the no-confidence vote, which was first debated last week.

Yeltsin and the parliament have been sparring for weeks over the 1998 budget and other key issues such as land reform and a new tax code.

Describing the importance of resolving the political dispute, Yeltsin had said earlier Tuesday, "Tomorrow will become a very important day. It will determine whether political stability will continue in the country or whether it will end and we will have a fight."

Yeltsin puts offers in writing

Zyuganov wanted to see in writing concessions offered on Monday by the president and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. On Tuesday, Yeltsin presented a letter with those offers.

"The party group discussed in detail the government's answer and the president's letter, where he confirmed all the promises made at the meeting," Zyuganov said.

Duma

Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin pledged to hold regular meetings with parliament leaders and to convene a round table of 23 political leaders to discuss controversial issues such as land reform.

They also agreed to an opposition demand to give parliament more access to the state-run media. Legislators have frequently complained that TV coverage of parliament is biased and unflattering.

The Communists and other hard-liners in parliament argue that Yeltsin's proposed 1998 budget is too austere. They would like to increase state funding for the military, agriculture, pensions and other social programs.

Parliament debated the no-confidence motion last Wednesday, but put off a vote for one week following intervention by Yeltsin.

Under Russian law, if the Duma had passed one no-confidence vote, it would require no action by Yeltsin. But if a second no-confidence vote were passed within 90 days, then Yeltsin would have to dismiss either his government or the Duma.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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