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Russia: Yeltsin's Spokesman Says Third Term Constitutional

Brussels, 7 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A spokesman for Russian President Boris Yeltsin said today Yeltsin could run for another presidential term without breaching the constitution.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, in an interview with the Belgian "le Soir" newspaper, published today, refused to answer a question whether Yeltsin would stand for a third term. Asked whether Yeltsin could do so without breaching the constitution, Yastrzhembsky however said that, in his opinion as a lawyer, Yeltsin carried out his previous term under the Soviet constitution. His current mandate was his first one under the Russian constitution and therefore his running for another term would not breach the constitution.

Under the 1993 Russian constitution a presidential mandate can be renewed only once. Yeltsin was first elected as head of the Russian state in June 1991, six months before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was then re-elected in 1996.

Yeltsin last week backed away from earlier statements that he will not seek a third term. He had said earlier this year he will not run again when his mandate expires in the year 2000.