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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Parliament Split Widens

A top legislator called again on Tuesday for the Russian parliament to compromise with Boris Yeltsin on constitutional reform, while aides said the president's resolve to push his draft charter through was "absolute".


Nikolai Ryabov, the deputy speaker who split with parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov last Friday by urging the deputies to approve Yeltsin's idea of a Constitutional Assembly, said parliament faced the threat of extinction unless it could compromise with the president.


He also accused Khasbulatov, who vehemently opposes the Constitutional Assembly, of failing to "understand the balance of political forces", according to Itar-Tass.


Khasbulatov signaled over the weekend that he was willing to compromise on constitutional reform, but continued to oppose Yeltsin's draft constitution, which would significantly boost the president's powers.


Yeltsin's chief of staff, Sergei Filatov, told reporters Tuesday that the president was committed to pushing his draft through, and that he would reveal details of plans on Thursday for the Constitutional Assembly.


Yeltsin's press spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, issued a statement Tuesday evening accusing Khasbulatov of a parliament "purge" of liberal legislators and of encouraging opposition to the president.


The split in parliament appeared to grow this week, with the presidium, an executive body which usually gathers every Monday afternoon to set parliament's agenda for the week, failing to meet for the second day in a row. Instead, parliament leaders, including Ryabov and Khasbulatov, met behind closed doors Tuesday.


Khasbulatov's spokesman, Konstantin Zlobin, denied that the presidium had been put off because of political fights and said the agenda for Tuesday's meeting had not yet been revealed.