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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Set For Special Session

Russia's lack of clear constituency boundaries, just four months before parliamentary elections, is worrying deputies enough to make them interrupt their summer holiday and come back to work.


State Duma member Alexander Yegorov said Thursday that he had gathered more than the 90 deputies needed to call a special session later this month.


"Today we are meeting [Duma chairman] Ivan Rybkin to discuss the date," Yegorov said.


The row, ahead of the December 17 election, centers on the absence of a crucial law which would define the boundaries of 225 electoral constituencies -- half the Duma. The other half is elected on party lists.


Two days before the Duma, the lower house of parliament, went into summer recess last week, the Federation Council vetoed a draft Duma law setting out proposed boundaries. President Boris Yeltsin's aides suggested the issue could be settled by a presidential decree.


But many Duma deputies are worried that whoever loses in the election could seize on the absence of a proper constituency law as an excuse to declare the vote unconstitutional.


This is what happened in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan last year. The Kazakh constitutional court ruled elections there invalid on similar grounds. President Nurstultan Nazarbayev struck back by dissolving parliament.


In Russia's forthcoming election, two centrist blocs, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Rybkin, will confront influential Communist Party and ultranationalist opposition groups. The latter did surprisingly well in 1993 elections.


Communists and ultranationalists are scared Yeltsin might take the "Kazakh option" and dissolve Russia's parliament if his prot?g?s, Chernomyrdin and Rybkin, lose. Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin and Rybkin all deny they are nurturing any such plans.


The Duma will have to vote by at least a two-thirds majority to overrule the Federation Council's veto and bring the constituencies issue back into its debating chamber.