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Russia: Duma To Consider Bills On Presidential Power Transfer

Moscow, 13 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's lower house of parliament will consider eight draft bills today on the transfer of state power during the president's absence because of ill health.

Viktor Ilyukhin, a communist and chairman of the Duma's Security Committee and author of one of the bills, said deputies will be asked to select one bill in a ballot later today. He said the basic bill will then be formalized.

Ilyukhin told interfax news agency that he wants the parliament or any of its chambers to be given responsibility for setting up a state medical commission to monitor the health of senior officials.

The State Duma is dominated by communist and nationalist opponents of President Boris Yeltsin who have frequently called on him to step down because of his health problems.

According to the constitution, the prime minister takes over in the event of the president's illness for a set period of time after which fresh elections must be held.