Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stop Now, Opponents Tell Yeltsin Leaders in Election Demand Economic Policy Be Reversed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stop Now, Opponents Tell Yeltsin Leaders in Election Demand Economic Policy Be Reversed

Article excerpt

Ultranationalists and Communists, exulting over a huge election lead, demanded that President Boris Yeltsin halt the painful and unpopular economic changes that led to his showdown with the old parliament.

Liberal Democratic leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Tuesday that he would work in the new parliament to end these "dark times . . . in Russia" and cancel Yeltsin's programs.

With 80 of the 89 election districts reporting Tuesday, the extreme nationalist Liberal Democratic Party was well out in front with nearly 24 percent of the vote in Sunday's election.

The main pro-Yeltsin group, Russia's Choice, was in second place with nearly 14 percent and the Communist Party had nearly 13 percent.

It appeared the Liberal Democrats would get at least 50 seats, Russia's Choice 30 and the Communists 25 in the lower house of the new parliament, or State Duma. Many candidates elected directly ran as independents, and it was too early to say exactly how many seats each bloc would have.

At a news conference, Zhirinovsky seemed confident he would be the kingmaker in parliament. He wasted no time demanding Yeltsin fire top aides, including Economics Minister Yegor Gaidar and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Both men were the target of hard-line attacks in the last parliament; Gaidar is the leader of Russia's Choice.

"I want them out of the government," Zhirinovsky said.

When the Duma meets for the first time Jan. 11, Zhirinovsky said, he will press for deep changes in Yeltsin's capitalist policies. He said his party would seek new subsidies for industry, increased welfare spending and state-subsidized consumer imports.

Zhirinovsky was unlikely to become prime minister or get a big government post because the new constitution gives Yeltsin the power to nominate Cabinet members.

But at the news conference, he referred to "my ministers" and "our government" and said he expects to become Russia's next president. Yeltsin's term runs until 1996.

Zhirinovsky added that he expected to meet Yeltsin in the next few days.

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said his party would seek a no confidence vote in Yeltsin's government if the economic changes continued.

Still in shock from the results, Russia's Choice repeated its desperate plea to cooperate with any bloc ready to fight the "fascist threat" posed by the Liberal Democrats.

Gaidar said his party would refuse to cooperate with Zhirinovsky.

But Gaidar appeared ready for some kind of economic compromise with the ultranationalists and the communists by saying a "revision" in economic policy was possible.

In other results, the anti-Yeltsin Agrarian Party had about 9 percent and the Women of Russia bloc followed with more than 8 percent.

Three other parties seemed likely to get at least 5 percent of the vote, the minimum to be given seats in parliament. …

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