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Tatar-Bashkir Report: March 28, 2000

28 March 2000
Putin A Strong Favorite In Tatarstan
The chairman of Tatarstan's Central Election Committee, Anatolii Fomin, told a news conference on 27 March that 69 percent of voters chose Putin in the 26 March Russian presidential election. He said that Communist Gennadii Zyuganov was second with only 19.7 percent of the vote followed by Grigorii Yavlinsky with 3 percent. Some 2.1 percent of voters supported Aman Tuleyev, and 1.2 percent cast ballots for Vladimir Zhirinovsky. All other candidates received less than 1 percent each, as well as the vote for "against all candidates." Fomin said that 80 percent of the republic's more than 2.5 million voters took part in the poll. Fomin said 8,000 observers, 24 from abroad and about 100 representatives of the candidates, monitored the election. Fomin also reported on the results of the voting for seats in Tatarstan's State Council, where elections were held in eight electoral okrugs on the same day. In two of them, the heads of local administrations won mandates, while in the others runoff elections will be held. Fomin denied charges made by communists that millions of extra ballots were stuffed in the ballot boxes in Tatarstan. He said that no appeal was filed with the CEC and that the charges are akin to a provocation.

Shaimiev Comments On Election Results
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said at a news conference on 27 March that he had spoken by telephone with President-elect Vladimir Putin on 27 March and that Putin asked him to thank Tatarstan's voters for the support they gave him. Shaimiev credited a campaign visit by Putin to Tatarstan on the eve of the election for his strong showing. Shaimiev also said that Putin's evaluation of the power-sharing treaty between Russia and Tatarstan and his clear political position aimed at maintaining it increased his popularity with voters. Asked if he was confident of the outcome before the poll, Shaimiev said he was worried that the "Muslim factor" in connection with the war in Chechnya would have a negative effect on Putin's vote total. Nevertheless, Shaimiev pointed out: "I said that in Tatarstan, the election will be over in the first round, and that was the way it turned out." Commenting on Tatar-Russian relations, Shaimiev said that if changes in the constitutions of Tatarstan and Russia are made, Tatarstan will insist on consent procedures. He said that during the prolongation of the interbudget agreement with the government headed by then-Premier Yevgenii Primakov, Tatarstan posed a question on the development of federal programs in the field of a common tax. He said Tatarstan has developed such programs but they have not been considered because of the frequent changes within the Russian government. Shaimiev said that the charters and constitutions of many of Russia's territorial entities include contradictions with the Russian Constituion, and it will not be easy to make them mesh with one another.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova