MOSCOW (Reuters) – 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.
He has not yet said what he plans to do when his term expires, but under the current constitution, which bans anyone from serving more than two successive presidential terms, Putin is barred from immediately running again.
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.
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WNU Editor: This Kremlin talk about changing the constitution is repeating a cycle that I have noticed in the past year. Every two or three months a new idea is floated on how to change the constitution so that Russian President Putin can stay in power in some capacity. And like all the other proposals, within a week they are shot down by everyone, including those within Putin’s inner circle who want to replace him.