Published: Sat, January 18, 2020
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Russian PM and government resign as Putin proposes sweeping constitutional changes

Russian PM and government resign as Putin proposes sweeping constitutional changes

Mr Mishustin will have a week to propose a new government and ministers.

Mishustin's track record inspired hopes that as prime minister, he would be able to shake up the country's stagnating economy - something Russians have been increasingly frustrated about in recent years. AP's earlier story follows below.

These amendments could allow Putin to create a new position for himself to remain in power after his presidency ends in 2024.

"In this context, it is obvious that, as the government, we must provide the president with a capability to make all decisions", which are required to implement the proposed plan, Medvedev said.

Mr Putin plans to name Mr Medvedev as deputy of the presidential security council, reports said.

A constitutional reform that Putin announced in a state-of-the-nation address indicated he was working to carve out a new governing position for himself after his current six-year term ends in 2024, although it remains unclear what specific path he will take to stay in charge. He has dominated Russian politics, as president or as prime minister, for two decades.

In a televised presentation before senior officials, Putin suggested that the Constitution be amended to limit a future President to two terms in office, whereas he has served four.

It also helps determine a uniform state policy on security and helps ensure the President's ability to carry out his constitutional duties in defending human and civil rights, as well as Russia's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. The president now holds the authority to make those appointments.

Handing the Russian parliament more power at the expense of presidential authority could signal a power shift that has been long speculated about in Russia.

The last referendum was held in 1993 to ratify the Constitution of Boris Yeltsin, Putin's predecessor. Currently, the prime minister and ministers are appointed by the president.

Next year's parliamentary vote will be seen as a key test of the system Putin has put in place, with a strong-critics say autocratic - leader supported by loyalist parliamentarians and security services targeting the opposition.

"We will be able to build a strong prosperous Russian Federation only on the basis of respect for public opinion", said the 67-year-old leader, who has been in power for the past 20 years.

Putin is now serving his fourth term as president.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of the nation address was broadcast across the entire country, reaching Russians far and wide.

Political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said Putin's speech made it clear he was pondering the move to premiership.

"I don't know how it will be called - chairman of the State Council, prime minister, or something like what happened in Kazakhstan, but it will be one person - Putin", he said.

Oleg Ignatov at the Center For Current Policy, a Moscow-based think tank, points out that Putin also spoke about changing the constitutional role of Russia's State Council, an advisory body to the head of state.

"People should already now be feeling real changes for the better", Mr Mishustin said.

"The second conclusion is that Putin is going to stay [in power] forever". He spent four years before that as president from 2008-2012. His placeholder as president, Dmitry Medvedev, stepped down after just one term to allow his mentor to reclaim the top job in 2012.

While Putin continued calling the shots during Medvedev's presidency, he wasn't quite happy with his performance.

Mishustin succeeds Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin associate who was Russia's prime minister for eight years.

According to him, the Russian Federation will not shy away from a situation where an global treaty has "priority over Russian laws", while this does not relate to the Constitution.

Just a year or two later, the topic of term limits has once more begun to permeate conversations in Russian Federation. He also said these reforms are necessary to bring the Russian constitution up to date.

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