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Russia: Yeltsin Plans Talk Of 'Evolution' Of Constitution


Moscow, 30 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whose recent sickness and seclusion has prompted calls for his resignation, showed up at the Kremlin again today and met the chairman of Russia's constitutional court, Vladimir Tumanov.

The Kremlin says Yeltsin met for a little more than half an hour with Tumanov and then worked on documents. Aides say these included his annual address to both houses of parliament next month.

A brief Kremlin statement said that in the meeting with Tumanov, Yeltsin said he will talk about an "evolution" of Russia's presidential constitution in his address to parliament.

The statement did not specify what evolution Yeltsin had in mind.

Earlier, presidential press spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said the two men would discuss ways to strengthen both the role of the Constitutional Court and of Russia's state structures.

Yastrzhembsky was also quoted by Itar Tass news agency as saying Yeltsin is recovering his strength and this is obvious from his mood and activity. Yastrzhembsky said pictures of Yeltsin taken today and due to be shown later in the day on Russian television will show him "in better form."

The communists contend that Yeltsin, who turns 66 on Saturday and has been convalescing outside Moscow, is so sick that he is obliged under the constitution to resign. Last week a communist-initiated motion in the State Duma calling for his removal on health grounds failed to pass. The government called the motion unconstitutional.

The constitution does vaguely provide for presidents to leave office on health grounds but does not prescribe any procedure to force them to do so.
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