Moscow, 28 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin reiterated today that he will keep Anatoly Chubais in his post of First Deputy Prime Minister.
Yeltsin said the issue of Chubais' ouster had been raised by Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov at a top-level Kremlin meeting. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Federation Council Speaker Yegor Stroyev also took part in the meeting. Chubais' ouster has been demanded by the Communist-led opposition over graft allegations.
Yeltsin, talking to reporters after the meeting, also dismissed opposition calls for a coalition government. He said that even if some ministers are sacked that does not mean the government has to resign. In a radio address earlier today, Yeltsin warned he may sack some ministers over poor performance but cited no names. The government is to report on its activities on Monday.
Chernomyrdin later hinted to reporters that some new ministers could come from opposition ranks. Itar-Tass quotes him as saying political backgrounds do not matter in government, as long as the appointees are professionals. Also today, the Duma Budget committee recommended that after delaying its discussion twice, the Duma approve the country's draft budget at a first reading on December 5.
But Seleznyov told reporters final approval would take several months and would not come until February at the earliest.