Russia’s president Vladimir Putin submitted to parliament a package of constitutional amendments he recently proposed.
He first said the reforms are intended to strengthen government bodies. However, the move is widely seen as his attempt to stay in power after his term ends in 2024.
Under the new rules, some of the president’s broad powers would be clipped and parliament’s powers expanded. The constitution will also change the status of the State Council, making it a low-profile body that advises the president.
Putin has been in power for more than 20 years, both as a president and as a prime minister. Analysts say that this time he will not switch positions with the prime minister, as before. Instead, they believe he will be given a special state organ to lead (the State Council), which will relieve him of day-to-day duties but will allow him to retain power.
Last week, the country’s government suddenly resigned and the head of Russia’s tax service, Mikhail Mishustin, was named as the prime minister, replacing Dimitry Medvedev.
Putin said that the changes would have to be approved by the entire nation, but it didn’t necessarily say it would be in the shape of a referendum.
During a recent event, when a veteran proposed not having term limits for the country’s president, Putin responded that “it would be very disturbing to return to the situation of the mid-1980s, with the leaders of the state, one by one, staying in power until the end of their days”, referring to the system that existed in the former Soviet Union.