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Chechnya: Parliamentary, Presidential Elections Scheduled For January

Grozny, Moscow; 18 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The Chechen Parliament said today that it plans to hold parliamentary and presidential elections January 27.

Correspondents say the move is likely to anger Moscow, which has repeatedly contested the right of the separatists to take any uni-lateral decisions under the terms of an August accord that halted fighting.

Itar-tass news agency said the decision to hold the elections was announced by Parliament Chairman Akhyad Idigov. Idigov said the decision was in line with the terms of the accords reached between the Kremlin and Chechnya, which, he said, created conditions for the free expression of the people's will. He said international observers would be invited to oversee the elections.

He said that the central electoral commission would include epresentatives from all Chechen groups, including supporters of the Moscow-backed Chechen leader Doku Zavgayev. Zavgayev and most of his administration have now left Chechnya.

The Kremlin said today that Aleksandr Lebed, who brokered the peace deal with the Chechens, will remain President Boris Yeltsin's special envoy to Chechnya, for the time being, despite being sacked as Security Council Secretary yesterday.

The head of the international peace-mediating mission in Chechnya said today that the dismissal of Lebed should not affect the peace process in the breakaway republic.

Tim Guldimann of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Chechnya said he did not interpret the dismissal as changing the attitude of the Russian government toward Chechnya.