Yeltsin hints he may disband parliament over Duma's failure to enact his reforms Analysts doubt president will carry out a threat that could hurt economy

October 04, 1997|By COX NEWS SERVICE

MOSCOW -- Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin issued a veiled threat yesterday that he would disband the Russian parliament for its failure to act on key economic reform proposals.

Yeltsin used his weekly nationwide radio address to criticize parliament's lower house, the State Duma, which is controlled by Communists and hard-line nationalists opposed to the president's efforts to cut government spending and broaden rights to private land ownership.

"The patience of people, the patience of the president, is not unlimited," Yeltsin said. "Most people are convinced that Russia needs a parliament. [But] what occupies the deputies most of all are political intrigues. "

In a conspicuous reference to the violent clashes four years ago between his administration and rebellious members of parliament from the Soviet era, Yeltsin said: "Then the confrontation between the deputies and the executive branch of government resulted in bloodshed."

In 1993, rebellious lawmakers barricaded themselves in the White House, Russia's parliamentary building, after Yeltsin dissolved the Soviet-era legislature. When armed supporters of the legislators attacked government buildings, Yeltsin ordered tanks and troops to quell the uprising. About 200 people were killed in the fighting Oct. 3-4.

Yeltsin could dissolve parliament and call new elections. But few Russian analysts believe he would gain a more pliant parliament or want to risk upsetting Russia's temperamental economic climate.

Yeltsin's rebuke was the latest round in the confrontation between the reform-minded president and the more conservative lower house. It also came a day after Yeltsin hinted he may run for a third term in 2000, even though the constitution limits the president to two consecutive terms.

A showdown could occur next week when the Duma is scheduled begin hearings to consider Yeltsin's 1998 budget proposal. Opposition leaders have proclaimed the proposal dead arrival because of its broad cuts in government subsidies.

Pub Date: 10/04/97

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