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08/05/1998 08:11:37 Russian Duma head says anti-crisis laws must change

MOSCOW, Aug 5 (Reuters) - The Communist speaker of Russia's Duma lower house

of parliament said on Wednesday he saw no reason for the chamber to cut short

its holidays to debate government anti-crisis bills already rejected last month.

Gennady Seleznyov made clear the government had not amendended the laws

since their rejection in July and the Duma would not discuss any bills unless

they have been seriously reworked.

"There is no sense in returning to old government-proposed bills that have

been rejected. They will be rejected anew," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Gennady

Seleznyov as saying.

"So far there are no laws which had to be passed at an extraordinary

session. In one word there is nothing to review."

The government proposed anti-crisis plan is a package of mainly fiscal laws

aimed at closing a widening gap in Russia's budget.

Seleznyov made his comments in St Petersburg, where he is spending his

holidays. He was due to fly to Moscow later on Wednesday for a meeting with

Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko.

Kiriyenko hopes to persuade the opposition-dominated State Duma to break its

recess later this month in order to debate parts of an anti-crisis package it

failed to pass before heading off on holiday in July.

The Duma is not due to sit until September 21.

Kiriyenko and his government are battling to save the state from financial

collapse after winning a $22.6 billion bailout last month from international

lenders.

The government and President Boris Yeltsin have introduced some of the

anti-crisis measures by decree but under the constitution only parliament can

change or impose fiscal laws, which form the basic part of the government's

programme.

The International Monetary Fund last month cut its first tranche of this

year's $11.2 billion credit by $800 million due to delays in implementing

anti-crisis measures largely due to the Duma's failure to pass key tax laws.

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