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Kommersant, June 18, 2003

One-Hour Vote
The Communist Party and Yabloko take aim at the government

By Syuzanna Farizova

Today the Duma will consider a vote of no confidence in the government, moved by the Communist Party and Yabloko factions. Yesterday the Duma council finally set the schedule: the vote will be at 5 p.m., so only an hour is available. However, even if the debate takes longer, the vote of no confidence will not pass. As leader of the Russian Regions group Oleg Morozov explained, "The vote of no confidence is nothing but an election move, a farce to which the response is another farce."

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov stated yesterday that the council deliberately scheduled the debate late in the day, hoping that there would be no discussion at all. "They are afraid to discuss a government dismissal and want to sabotage the meeting, whereas they ought to devote the whole day to the debate." Besides, the communist leader added that the communists and Yabloko members did not intend to minimize the discussion.

As the Duma regulations stipulate automatic extension of the meeting until an issue has been debated, the communists and Yabloko may have some additional time for the discussion.

Duma member Reshulsky says: "Off the record, 60-70% of Duma members support the dismissal of the government. However, they say that they will not support us while voting, as it does not depend on them."

Conserquently it may transpire that the Communists and Yabloko are not the only ones ready to criticize the government without supporting the vote of no confidence. In particular, Morozov expressed his intention to criticize the work of the government - he does not rule out the possibility that some centrists will follow his example.

The initiators of the vote doubt they will be successful, but still hope for some miracle. As Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky stressed, "The result of the vote will depend only on what the president decides: if the head of state instructs the centrist factions to vote for the vote of no confidence - the government will be dismissed; however, centrist factions will not vote for this measure without first obtaining his permission."

At the same time, a source in the centrist coalition claimed that currently head of the state was clearly disinterested in dismissing the government, "If the Duma passes the vote of no confidence, in autumn it will be necessary to repeat the vote. At this time the Duma is to discuss the 2004 budget and the impending elections. In this situation the president should either dismiss the Duma and preserve the government or to dismiss the government and the budget will not be passed. It is a political absurdity."

The right wing is also convinced that most Duma deputies will not support the action of the communists and Yabloko. Deputy chairman of the Union of Right Forces Boris Nadezhdin said yesterday that at "at least three of the six charges - on the inability of the government to guarantee the security of the country carry out military and administrative reforms - are addressed wrongly - the cabinet of ministers is not responsible for resolving these issues."

According to the deputy, an indirect confirmation of the lack of prospects for the vote is that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will not attend the discussion of the issue, as he is attending the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. The government’s permanent representative in the Duma Andrei Loginov will attend the discussion - however, he does not have to respond to questions or accusations from deputies.


See also:

No-Confidence Vote

Kommersant, June 18, 2003

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