A coalition of reform groups and political parties nominated Boris Yeltsin Saturday as its candidate in the election for president of the Russian republic, Tass reported.

The group, Democratic Russia, says it is anti-Communist and claims 1.3 million members. Yeltsin is chairman of Russia's legislature, now the highest office in the republic.Russians voted by an overwhelming margin in March to create a presidency chosen by popular vote. The election must still be approved by the Russian Congress in May.

The vote is expected to be held in June, and Yeltsin is considered the only contender. A victory would give him popularly-backed authority in Russia, the largest of the 15 Soviet republics with half the population and three-quarters of the land.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev holds the most powerful position in the nation, but he has never faced the voters.