Moscow, 24 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's State Duma has approved Sergei Kiriyenko as prime minister by a wider-than-expected margin. Kiriyenko received the support of 251 of the 276 deputies taking part in today's secret ballot. He needed a simple majority of 226 votes. The 35-year-old former banker was approved in a third and final vote in spite of being opposed by the Communist Party, the largest faction in the Duma.
It's unclear how many Communist deputies voted for Kiriyenko. By supporting the president's nominee in today's vote, deputies narrowly averted the dissolution of the legislature.
After the result was announced, Kiriyenko thanked deputies for "the great courage" they'd shown in backing him. He also called on parliament to cooperate with his government and said no one wanted the country to suffer any big upsets.
Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov said the vote had been "unfair" and accused deputies of "having wavered again."