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Russia: Duma Rejects Kiriyenko As Premier In A Second Vote

Moscow, 17 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's State Duma today rejected the nomination of Sergei Kiriyenko as prime minister in a second-round vote. In an open ballot, 271 deputies voted against Kiriyenko and 115 in favor. The vote marked a decline in support for Kiriyenko, who won 143 votes in a first confirmation ballot a week ago.

President Boris Yeltsin immediately renominated Kiriyenko for a third time to be prime minister. Yeltsin's representative to the Duma, Sergey Kotenkov, said the Kremlin has sent a letter to the lower house informing lawmakers of the president's decision.

Yeltsin has the constitutional right to dissolve the Duma if it fails three times to confirm his nominee for prime minister. A third confirmation vote must be held within a week.

Kiriyenko's critics say he lacks experience for the job. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, in a speech before the vote, called on deputies to reject Kiriyenko's nomination. Otherwise, Zyuganov said they will all become participants "in the final destruction of Russia."

Meanwhile, Yeltsin is due later today to travel to Japan for an informal summit with Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. The two leaders plan to hold their second informal meeting in the spa resort of Kawana, 150 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Talks are expected to focus on regional security and economic issues.

The summit had been scheduled earlier this month but was postponed due to Yeltsin's decision to sack the government.