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Russia: Parliament Refuses To Confirm Kiriyenko

Moscow, 10 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, has refused to confirm Sergei Kiriyenko as prime minister on the first ballot. The vote today was 143-186 with five abstentions. He needed 226 votes to be confirmed. Most observers had projected a stronger opposition vote. The ballot followed a speech to the Duma in which Kiriyenko laid out a stark austerity program for the government.

Earlier, President Boris Yeltsin said in a radio speech that he will renominate Kiriyenko and will not name any other candidate. Under the constitution, Yeltsin may dissolve parliament and call for new elections, if his choice is refused three times.

A Kremlin spokesman said that Yeltsin renominated Kiriyenko soon after the Duma completed the rejection count.

In his speech, Kiriyenko said he would attack the problems that have stalled Russia's economic growth. Opposition deputies said Kiriyenko's speech was well-balanced, but lacked a clear vision.