RUSSIAN Federation leader Boris Yeltsin won formal approval yesterday for a powerful executive presidency, which he is expected to win in elections next month. The Congress of People's Deputies, the highest legislature in the Soviet Union's most-powerful republic, voted by 615 to 235 to approve a law outlining the future president's powers.
Mr. Yeltsin will be able to appoint ministers, issue decrees, and dismiss rebellious officials.
The overwhelming vote all but banished concerns that hard-line Communist deputies might be able to block the election at the last legislative hurdle Wednesday.
The president may serve a maximum of two five-year terms.
Russia is slated to become the second Soviet republic with a directly elected executive president - a sign of the gradual erosion of central Kremlin power unthinkable before Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev began his perestroika reforms in 1985.
On Sunday, the southern republic of Georgia holds presidential elections almost certain to be won by anti-Communist nationalist leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia.