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Tatar-Bashkir Report: October 2, 2000

2 October 2000
Russian Media On Shaimiev's Possible Third Term
A possible third presidential term for Tatarstan's Mintimer Shaimiev is the subject of controversial comments in the Russian media. The chairman of the Russian Central Electoral Committee, Aleksandr Veshnyakov, said in an interview with the daily "Izvestiya" on 29 September that the law limiting executives from being elected more than twice went into force a year ago. At the same time, Veshnyakov said, legislators who understood the complexity of the matter allowed for a two-year transition period. These two years, he said, "make it possible for regional heads to participate in the elections for the third time. When the transition period expires," Veshnyakov continued, "naturally, no discussion on whether it is permitted or not will take place." That is, of course, if the law won't be abrogated before, he added. In an interview with the daily "Segodnya" on 29 September, Veshnyakov said that despite the latest significant corrections in Tatarstan's laws, the legislation according to which presidential candidates have to speak both of the republic's official languages or to live in the republic contradict federal legislation. In any case, he said, federal -- not republican -- legislation will be used in elections.

The Russian daily "Nezavisimaya gazeta" reported on 29 September that the board of the General-Prosecutor's Office in the Volga federal district "actively studies the conformity to federal legislation of the law on the election of Tatarstan's president, according to which Mintimer Shaimiev is able to prolong the term of his power." The daily said that the "'juridical correctness' of legislative acts which solve an issue of the 'third term' in favor of regional leaders is also investigated by the Russian Supreme Court and the main state-juridical board of the Russian President."

The Russian Central Electoral Committee (CEC) acknowledged at a 29 September meeting devoted to bringing regional legislation into conformity with federal laws that Mintimer Shaimiev is able to stand for re-election and a third term, RIA-Novosti reported on 1 October. The CEC concluded that contradictions within federal legislation make it possible to use a Tatar law which doesn't restrict the number of limits. The CEC noted, however, that elections results may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Shaimiev On Presidential Elections
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev said on 30 September that he will announce his decision on possibly participating in the 24 December presidential elections only "when it will be necessary." Shaimiev made the comments at a news conference in Kazan upon his return from Moscow, where he attended a meeting of the Russian State Council Presidium. Shaimiev said the most important thing is to provide for the purity of the elections, something that is more important than the issue of his possible participation. He said the main reason for the moving the elections up from March to 24 December was to decrease the gap between the parliamentary and the presidential elections to a year, as it used to be, and noted that all the comments on the issue that have appeared in the media didn't touch upon the real reason. Tatarstan's opposition parties and movements announced at a roundtable on 28 September that one of the aims of moving up the elections was a desire to add complications for competing candidates and to gain other advantages. Shaimiev said that he has ordered lawyers to once again check on the juridical correctness in changing the election date.

Communists Proposed Presidential Candidate
The Communist Party of Tatarstan nominated the party's deputy general-secretary, Robert Sadykov, as a candidate for the president's post at a party congress in Kazan on 30 September. Sadykov said in an interview with Tatar Television that some 30 percent of the electorate may vote for him. He cited support in cities at perhaps 60 percent and in rural areas as high as 90 percent.

By Gulnara Khasanova