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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Yeltsin 3rd Term Bid Breaks No Law: Kremlin Spokesman

President Boris Yeltsin would not breach the Russian Constitution if he decided to run for another term, presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky contended in an interview published Tuesday in the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Yeltsin, 66, raised eyebrows last week when he backtracked from his earlier denials that he would run again in 2000, saying close associates have advised him against speaking publicly about his plans.

Yastrzhembsky, in Brussels to prepare for Yeltsin's visit later this week to participate in a UNESCO conference, said he could add nothing more to Yeltsin's statement.

"Nevertheless, from a lawyer's perspective, the preceding mandate occurred under the constitution of the U.S.S.R.," he said.

"In other words, the current mandate would be the first in Russia and, therefore, another one, in the year 2000, would be constitutional," Yastrzhembsky said.

The 1993 Russian Constitution limits presidents to two consecutive terms in office.

Yeltsin is in his second term as Russia's president, but he was elected to his first term when Russia was a Soviet republic.

Therefore, some legal experts contend, he could run for another term.

Alexander Shokhin, leader of the State Duma's main pro-Kremlin faction, Our Home Is Russia, said last week that only a Constitutional Court ruling could prevent Yeltsin from running again.

Moscow political observers interpreted Yeltsin's remarks as an indication of the Kremlin's inability so far to unite behind a single candidate to take on challenges from the communists and charismatic general Alexander Lebed, who has already announced his candidacy.

Grigory Yavlinsky of the liberal Yabloko movement also has said he will run.