19 October, 2020

Courting The Loser

A retired general holds the key to the presidential run-off

Courting The Loser
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

IT'S all over bar the counting. That must have been Russian President Boris Yeltsin's thoughts after finally securing the crucial support of presidential candidate and former army general Alexander Lebed.

Lebed, who finished third in the June 16 presidential election with 14.7 per cent of the vote, is perceived as a kingmaker since neither Yeltsin (with 35.2 per cent) nor the communist leader Gennady Zyuganov (32 per cent), have the 50 per cent mandate necessary to stake a claim to the presidency. A run-off is scheduled for July 3.

Immediately after the announcement of the results, Yeltsin sacked defence minister Pavel Grachev and appointed Lebed as secretary of the powerful National Security Council—which oversees the security and police forces—and presidential adviser for national security. After a brief meeting at the Kremlin, Lebed officially endorsed Yeltsin, saying the agreement would "serve not only towards the unification of politicians, but of the forces serving them". Grachev, once described by Yeltsin...

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