Sunday, May 16, 1999 Published at 05:31 GMT 06:31 UK
Yeltsin survives impeachment vote
The Communist Party has failed to get rid of the President
President Yeltsin has easily survived an attempt by Communist opponents in the lower house of the Russian parliament to unseat him.
The BBC Correspondent in Moscow, Andrew Harding, says it is a crucial victory for the president.
Votes on the other four counts ranged between 238 and 263 in favour. Not all deputies were present in the Duma for the vote.
But centrist and nationalist deputies apparently decided to back the president because of their greater opposition to the Communists.
Russia's acting Prime Minister Sergey Stepashin said the failure of the impeachment vote was a triumph of common sense: "A profound political crisis that could have worsened further has been overcome. Common sense has prevailed," he said.
"Without seeing the ballots we cannot acknowledge results of the vote," said Nikolai Kharitonov, head of the pro-Communist Agrarian faction.
His press secretary, Dmitriy Yakushkin, said Mr Yeltsin now wanted the Duma to return to normal legislative work.
He discussed the vote with his chief of staff Alexander Voloshin by telephone and said he would focus on forming a new government after sacking the old team, Mr Yakushkin added.
Fight over new prime minister
Mr Yeltsin now faces a fierce fight with parliament over a new prime minister to replace Yevgeny Primakov. Mr Primakov and his entire government were sacked by the president on Wednesday.
Parliament must decide next Wednesday whether to approve Sergei Stepashin as the new prime minister.
Three votes against Mr Yeltsin's choice would oblige him, under the constitution, to dissolve parliament.
Correspondents say that could trigger a constitutional crisis with Mr Yeltsin trying to dissolve the parliament and MPs insisting he cannot. The last time that happened, in 1993, Mr Yeltsin sent troops to storm the parliament.