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Iran Press TV

Russia's upper house overwhelmingly approves Putin-proposed reforms

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 2:37 PM

Russia's upper house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved constitutional reforms that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for two more six-year terms.

Some 160 senators in the Federation Council voted in favor of the amendments on Wednesday. One was against and three abstained.

Earlier on Wednesday, the lower house (the State Duma) gave its definitive and overwhelming approval to the constitutional changes and a provision put forward on Tuesday to restart the term clock for the current president.

In January, the Russian president proposed a package of constitutional amendments, days after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his cabinet stepped down in what he said was meant to give room to Putin to carry out reforms.

Putin also supported a proposal put forward by the 83-year-old Valentina Tereshkova, a Duma deputy, during the second reading of the amendments on Tuesday to reset the term count for the incumbent president.

In a speech ahead of the Federation Council's vote, speaker Valentina Matviyenko described the approval as "one of the most important issues in (Russia's) modern history."

She also praised the amendment introduced on Tuesday that would allow Putin to run again when his current term ends in 2024.

Putin "must have the right to participate in new competitive elections," she said. "He raised Russia from its knees" and "is considered one of the world's great leaders," the official added.

The amendments must now be approved by two-thirds of Russian regional parliaments and obtain the support of the nation in a public vote in April.

The current Constitution of the Russian Federation, in effect since 1993, was written under then-President Boris Yeltsin following a constitutional crisis caused by his sharp disagreement with the Federal Assembly, which opposed increasing presidential powers.

Putin, 67, has proposed amending the constitution to limit a future president to two terms in office, he has served four, tightening residency requirements for presidential candidates. He has also proposed a greater role for the State Council. Under the amendments, parliament chooses candidates for prime minister and the cabinet.

During his previous run as president, Putin served until 2008, when he left the presidency for four years to become prime minister. Medvedev became president at the time.

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