• ACI Russia

08/13/1998 15:27:05 FOCUS-Russian Duma speaker opposes special session

(Adds Seleznyov comments)

MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko

met the head of the opposition Communist Party on Thursday to

seek his support for holding a special session of parliament to

consider measures to tackle Russia's financial crisis.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said after the talks he

could not rule out that the State Duma, the lower house, might

meet next week but senior Duma officials would not decide until

Monday whether to summon deputies back from vacation.

The chamber's speaker said he opposed convening an emergency

session, although the government says its measures are vital for

pulling Russia out of crisis. He said the government should

first pay off huge wage arrears to millions of workers.

"Let them dream about an emergency session until they give

out all the money," Interfax news agency quoted Duma Chairman

Gennady Seleznyov as saying during a visit to St Petersburg.

The Duma approved some of Kiriyenko's measures last month,

including the main part of a new tax code, but did not approve

other tax and spending proposals intended to close a wide budget


President Boris Yeltsin issued decrees to ensure some of the

unapproved measures went into effect immediately.

But Kiriyenko, facing turmoil on financial markets and a

loss of confidence in the rouble, told reporters after meeting

Zyuganov that it was vital for the Duma to meet on August 19-21

to pass the anti-crisis measures proposed by his government.

Zyuganov said the Duma's managing council would meet to

consider the request on Monday.

"If there are persuasive arguments...I do not rule out that

the Duma might make this decision (to meet in August)," Zyuganov

told reporters after meeting Kiriyenko.

"We will read (the arguments), we will study them and the

Duma Council will take a decision on Monday."

Other senior Duma figures have suggested a session is not


A deputy Duma speaker said on Wednesday he believed a crisis

session was unlikely before September 2. He said there were

unspecified "technical reasons" why such a session could not be

called immediately.

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