Strike Two for Kiriyenko

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MOSCOW: The nyets have it. Russia’s Communist-dominated legislature today slapped down Boris Yeltsin’s prime minister nominee for a second time, with the open vote increasing the scale of the rejection -- last week’s secret ballot had allowed 31 opposition members to mutiny on the quiet. So will the deputies risk being dragged out in front of the electorate by rejecting Sergei Kiriyenko a third time next week? “The common belief is that nobody wants new elections, because they’re hugely disruptive and they’re unlikely to bring much change in the present balance in the Duma,” says TIME Moscow bureau chief Paul Quinn-Judge. Then again, the Communists may find it difficult to back down with dignity, especially if Yeltsin turns up the heat -- in which case a country without a government could lose its legislature too by the end of next week. At least they’ll still have President Yeltsin.