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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Healthy' Yeltsin Presents Fall Agenda to Duma Leaders

President Boris Yeltsin on Tuesday met with State Duma speaker Ivan Rybkin and his deputies to tell them what legislation he would like the Duma to deal with during its fall session.


A fresh, healthy looking Yeltsin told the Duma leaders he considers new election laws a priority at the moment and reiterated that he would not like the 1996 presidential election to be deferred.


Deputy speaker Alexander Vengerovsky said that during the 90-minute meeting, Yeltsin was sharply critical of Federation Council speaker Vladimir Shumeiko's idea of postponing both presidential and parliamentary elections by two years.


The deputy Duma speaker said Yeltsin had told the meeting that he was ready for the next presidential election to take place in 1996.


"I got the impression that he will be running in that election," Vengerovsky said.


He stressed that the president had been in good health, in an apparent move to dispel recent reports about Yeltsin's drinking habits.


"His handshake showed that he can hold more than a tennis racket," Vengerovsky said.


According to Vengerovsky, Yeltsin listed several bills submitted to the parliament for the fall session in order of importance. After election laws, Yeltsin said legislation on dividing power between federal and local authorities was the most vital. The president named new tax legislation as the next priority.


Rybkin's deputies were all given a chance to address Yeltsin. Valentin Kovalyov, who represents the Communist Party faction, said the Communists would not demand the resignation of the government before the government presents a 1994 economic policy report to the Duma.


Alevtina Fedulova spoke of the lack of women in the government, and Artur Chilingarov, who heads an association of North Pole explorers, drew the president's attention to the problems of the Northern territories. Yeltsin, according to Vengerovsky, promised to deal with both issues.


Meanwhile, Duma factions held their regular meetings Tuesday.


The Democratic Party of Russia faction voted no confidence in its leader, Nikolai Travkin, saying his pursuit of power has led him to sell out to the government.


Travkin, appointed a minister without portfolio by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin this year, heads one of the first non-communist parties in Russia. Its Duma faction is the smallest in the parliament, counting only 15 members. Eight of them voted against Travkin in his absence Tuesday.


However, the vote does not mean his automatic removal as head of the faction.


The final decision will fall to a general conference of the Democratic Party, which Travkin's opponents want to call in November.


The head of the Duma Committee for Economic Policy, Sergei Glazyev, who is emerging as the new leader of the faction, said the vote merely shows the faction members' "moral judgment" of Travkin.





-- Svetlana Vinogradova contributed to this article.