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Russia's Electoral Commission Concerned About Parallel Body

Moscow, Jan. 31 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has asked president Boris Yeltsin to provide information on the recently formed national committee for presidential elections.

The CEC's First Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Ivanchenko made the announcement today while addressing Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

The creation of the new committee, headed by First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, was confirmed by President Boris Yeltsin on Jan. 15.

Duma deputies and the CEC earlier expressed concern over the creation of a body parallel to the CEC. Ivanchenko said today that several Russian regions have complained about the creation of the committee. According to Ivanchenko, state officials are putting pressure on citizens, calling on them to support Yeltsin's candidacy in the June presidential race.

Yeltsin is expected to formally announce his decision to run in mid-February. But Russian law allows supporters to start collecting the one million signatures necessary for a candidate's registration before any official declaration to run.