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Yeltsin Calls for Reconciliation, Chernomyrdin to Form Government

Moscow, July 4 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who scored a clear victory in yesterday's presidential election, today made a plea for national reconciliation. Yeltsin also re-appointed Viktor Chernomyrdin as his Prime Minister and asked him to form a new government. Chernomyrdin told a news conference in Moscow that there will be place in his team "for all those who want to work actively, no matter their political orientations." But he said he objects to the idea of forming a coalition government.

With 99 percent of the vote counted, Russia's Electoral Commission said Yeltsin obtained 53.7 percent of the vote to his communist challenger, Gennady Zyuganov, who obtained just over 40 percent.

Appealing for national unity in a televised address to the Russian people, Yeltsin said Russia should not be divided "into winners and losers."

Yeltsin said the pre-election campaign had been very highly charged and voters "had solved the dispute." He also said the soon-to-be-formed government will be open to "all of those the voters have trusted."

Chernomyrdin told a news conference his government had achieved results and "we should take that as our starting point."

He said he had not yet considered the possibility that Zyuganov could become a cabinet member.

Chernomyrdin did not say if pro-reform economist Grigory Yavlinsky will be offered a ministerial portfolio. Speaking on Ekho Moscow radio Yavlinsky said he and his "Yabloko" movement colleagues are ready to join a new Russian government, but have so far received no proposal.