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Court To Rule on Yeltsin 3rd Term

February 5, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia’s Constitutional Court agreed Thursday to rule on whether President Boris Yeltsin will be eligible to run for a third term in 2000, said a lawmaker who initiated the appeal in court.

Russia’s post-Soviet constitution limits a president to two terms. But Yeltsin was midway into his first term in 1993 when the new constitution was adopted, and thus is serving his first full term under the document. Presidential aides insist that Yeltsin could run for another term if he chooses.

The lower house of Parliament, dominated by Yeltsin’s political opponents, has appealed to the Constitutional Court to decide on the legality of such a move, and the petition was accepted Thursday, said liberal opposition lawmaker Aleksei Zakharov.

The date of the hearing has not been set yet, but a ruling is expected by the end of this year, Zakharov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Yeltsin said recently he is not planning to run for re-election in 2000 _ but appeared to leave room to change his mind.

Another obstacle the 67-year-old president may have to deal with is the uncertain state of his health, especially given his history of heart trouble.

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