Early poll challenge to Yeltsin

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(First Edition)

MOSCOW (Reuter) - The Russian parliamentary leadership challenged President Boris Yeltsin yesterday by proposing early presidential and parliamentary elections in spring 1994, Itar-Tass news agency said. The parliament's presidium, led by Mr Yeltsin's arch-rival, Ruslan Khasbulatov, agreed to ask the full legislature to approve putting the proposal to a referendum on 11 April.

The referendum is formally supposed to decide on the guidelines for a new constitution,

Mr Yeltsin has made clear he wants the vote to resolve the power struggle at the heart of Russian politics: who rules Russia, president or parliament? According to a deal struck by Mr Yeltsin and Mr Khasbulatov last December, both sides have the right to put alternative questions to the referendum.