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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President to Seek Approval For Charter From Congress

President Boris Yeltsin intends to ask Russia's conservative-dominated top legislature to approve a draft constitution once it is finalized by a special assembly, a top aide said Wednesday.


Alexander Kotenkov, head of Yeltsin's legal department and a coordinator of the Constitutional Assembly underway since June 5, said that the Congress of People's Deputies should be convened as soon as the assembly produces a finished draft.


Kotenkov said that the Assembly, which has adjourned while a special group tries to polish a new draft Yeltsin presented Saturday, would reconvene in a full session July 12, hopefully to give final approval to the draft.


He told a meeting of Yeltsin's legislative supporters they should initiate the call for the 1, 033-member Congress to adopt the new Basic Law.


The president's advisors are trying to adopt a draft quickly and legally.


Russia's current charter gives that right to the Congress. Yeltsin, wary of the body that nearly impeached him in March, had all but ruled out asking the legislature to adopt a new charter.


But other options - a referendum, a temporary law on power until new parliamentary elections, or the formation of a constituent assembly - would require either Congres's approval or a strong vote of support from Russia's 21 ethnically defined republics and 68 territorial regions.


The regions and the republics are split over how their relations with Moscow should be elaborated in the new charter, and neither side is happy with the current draft.


Mikhail Nikolayev, president of the resource-rich republic of Sakha, formerly Yakutia, wrote Wednesday that the current draft would "place the republics outside the federation".