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Russia: Kremlin Says Lawmakers Did Not Openly Oppose Kiriyenko

Moscow, 7 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- The Kremlin says that at roundtable talks in Moscow today none of the lawmakers present openly opposed Sergei Kiriyenko as Russia's new prime minister. Yegor Stroyev, speaker of the upper house of parliament, said he would back the 35-year-old acting prime minister. But in remarks to ORT Television, Sergei Yastrzhemsky conceded that while Kiriyenko clearly won the support of regional governors, Duma deputies were not so unanimous about his candidacy. Yeltsin called the talks to defuse a looming standoff with the Duma over Kiriyenko's nomination. Duma deputies that oppose Kiriyenko say he is too inexperienced.

Kiriyenko told ITAR-TASS he was satisfied with today's meeting of parliamentary, government and union officials. He said there had been discussion on potential members in a new cabinet. Yeltsin sacked the previous government on March 23, and charged Kiriyenko with forming a new government.

Kiriyenko said the talks proved "that mutual understanding can be reached on fundamental positions," among which he listed "financial discipline, a realistic budget, strong state control."

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said that despite today's "useful" talks, Kiriyenko will not be confirmed in a first-round parliamentary vote. But he added that his party might reconsider if Kiriyenko is proposed again.

Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the liberal Yabloko faction, said Yabloko has not changed its position and will still vote against Kiriyenko.

The Duma is due to consider Kiriyenko's nomination on Friday. For confirmation, he must win a simple majority in the 450-seat house.