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Russia: Stepashin Seeking Duma Confirmation


Moscow, 19 May 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian Prime Minister-designate Sergei Stepashin told lawmakers during confirmation hearings today that he wanted to speed up reforms and boost Russia's economic recovery from last summer's financial crisis. Stepashin--who is seeking confirmation today as President Boris Yeltsin's candidate for prime minister--said a new, energetic approach was needed to secure political and economic stability. Stepashin, who previously headed the country's police and internal security forces also said he has no intention of resorting to unconstitutional means to enforce his policies.

The Duma vote confirming or rejecting Stepashin is expected at around 1200 Prague time.

If the Duma rejects Stepashin's nomination three times, Russian President Boris Yeltsin is constitutionally obliged to dissolve the Duma and call new elections. If the Duma votes in favor, Stepashin will be automatically installed in office, and Yeltsin can then appoint other cabinet ministers.

Russian news agencies report today that Yeltsin is working in the Kremlin. Yesterday there were reports--denied by the Kremlin--of new health problems for the president.
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