Putin Proposes Sweeping Changes to Constitution

Putin Proposes Sweeping Changes to ConstitutionPutin Proposes Sweeping Changes to Constitution

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed a nationwide vote on sweeping constitutional changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament and the prime minister, a move that could allow him to extend his rule after leaving the Kremlin.
In power as either president or prime minister since 1999, Putin, 67, is due to step down in 2024 when his fourth presidential term ends, Reuters reported.
Putin told the country’s political elite in his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday that he favored changing the constitution to hand the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, the power to choose Russia’s prime minister and other key positions.
“Of course these are very serious changes to the political system,” Putin said, adding that he thought parliament and civil society was ready for the changes. “It would increase the role and significance of the country’s parliament ... of parliamentary parties, and the independence and responsibility of the prime minister.”



Government Resigns 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he was stepping down to give Putin room to carry out the changes, which, if implemented, would shift power to parliament and the prime minister.
Medvedev, a longtime Putin ally and former president, announced his resignation on state television sitting next to Putin, who thanked him for his work.
Putin said Medvedev would take on a new job as deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which Putin chairs.
Attention now turns to who becomes the next prime minister. The array of possible candidates includes Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who is credited with breathing new life into the capital.

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