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Russia: Duma Prepares To Discuss Possible No-Confidence Vote

Moscow, 15 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais has warned the State Duma it will face dissolution if it tries to pass a no-confidence vote in the government. Chubais's warning comes as Duma deputies today consider a communist proposal to put such a no-confidence measure on the agenda.

Under the constitution, if the State Duma votes no-confidence against the government twice within three months, the president must either dissolve the Duma or replace his cabinet. Yeltsin has indicated he would disband the State Duma.

ITAR-TASS today quotes the text of the communist initiative as accusing the government of "complete bankruptcy" in executing this year's budget. It also says the government of Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had become what it called a "hostage to its radical wing." No government officials were named, but Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyev said yesterday the vote was not directed at Chernomyrdin but his two deputy prime ministers, Chubais and Boris Nemtsov, both of whom were brought in to speed up Russia's economic restructuring.

If a vote is held, at least 226 of the lower parliament's 450 members will have to support the measure for it to pass. The communists say they have 215 votes. But one of the factions expected to support the communist measure, Yabloko, today unveiled its own no-confidence draft, which according to ITAR-TASS, is more critical of the government than the communist version.

Meanwhile, members of a State Duma-Federation Council Government commission continue work on the government's draft 1998 budget. The commission was formed last week, as the Duma, on first reading, rejected the budget.

Itar-Tass news agency says First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais today participates in a commission meeting on a new tax code. The tax code and its proposed implementation January 1, 1998, have been strongly criticized -- and the government's budget projections are based on the new code.

Yesterday's meeting of the commission focused on government revenue projections, and the continuing problem of tax collection.

First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov characterized the work of the commission as "sharply discordant" with the question of no-confidence in the government to be debated today by the Duma.