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St. Petersburg Law May Conflict With Federal Law

ST. PETERSBURG, March 13 (RFE/RL) - Russia's presidential representative in St. Petersburg says that a city gubernatorial election law passed by the city's Legislative Assembly and signed by Mayor Anatoly Sobchak last week conflicts with Russian federal law.

The representative, Sergei Tsyplyaev, said that the Russian Constitutional Court has not decided whether local authorities may set dates for local elections. He said that any results of a St. Petersburg gubernatorial election, scheduled according to the new law for June 16, could therefore be challenged in court.

Our correspondent in St. Petersburg reports today that the presidential representative is urging city and federal authorities to find a compromise solution. President Boris Yeltsin opposes St. Petersburg's plan to hold mayoral elections concurrent with the June 16 national presidential election.

Victor Novoselov, a deputy of the city's Legislative Assembly, last week defended the proposed timing of the local election. He said that an election is needed before the end of Sobchak's term in June. The new law says that the successor to Mayor Sobchak will be known as St Petersburg's governor, a title that suggests greater executive authority. St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city.