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Soviet Union

As Eduard A. Shevardnadze tossing his shapka into the ring? The former Foreign Minister may be angling to replace Mikhail Gorbachev as the Soviet Union's President. Observers say that could be one motive for Shevardnadze's mid-June call for creation of a strong democratic party to challenge the Communist Party. He resigned last December with a warning against a "coming dictatorship," and he would be a likely opposition candidate.

Shevardnadze's proposal was swiftly condemned by the Communist Party, but it won support from leaders of Democratic Russia, a loose group backing reformers such as Russian Republic President Boris N. Yeltsin and Moscow Mayor Gavril Popov. A proposed new treaty of federation would lead to a direct presidential vote by late 1992. Other possible contenders for Gorbachev's job: Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Leningrad Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, and Yeltsin. Now, all the Soviets need is the equivalent of Iowa or New Hampshire to get the candidates off and running.

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