Russian Putin proposes referendum on series of major constitutional changes

Russian President Putin
Russians may be asked to vote on some key changes to the constitution, including setting out its supremacy over international law, as well as tightening background requirements for presidential candidates, President Putin said.

Amendments to the constitution could be brought up for a popular vote to ensure “the development of Russia as a welfare and rule-of-law state,” the Russian President told in his annual state of the nation address. RT reported

The Russia’s Central Election Commission signalled the popular vote could be held as early as 2020. “If everything is solved quickly, this may happen this year,” the body’s secretary Maya Grishina was quoted by Sputnik.

"I consider it necessary to conduct a vote by the country’s citizens on an entire package of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution,” Putin said in his annual address to lawmakers, without specifying any date for a vote.

“We will be able to build a strong prosperous Russia only on the basis of respect for public opinion,” he said. “Together we will certainly change life for the better.”

One of the key issues Putin outlined was that Russia should abide by international acts only if they don’t come into conflict with the country’s own constitution. Adopted back in 1993, it should serve as a prime source “in our legal environment,” he stated.

International agreements and treaties, as well as decisions by international bodies may apply in Russia “only to the extent that they do not entail restrictions on the rights and freedoms of people and citizens, and do not contradict our constitution.”

The President then suggested stricter profiling of the top political brass, starting with presidential candidates and going all the way down.

An amended constitution would include compulsory requirements for “persons holding positions crucial for ensuring the country’s security and sovereignty,” including the Prime Minister, cabinet members, governors, heads of federal agencies, MPs and judges. They should be barred from having foreign citizenship or residence permit, Putin proposed.

Anyone willing to run for President will be subject to “even more stringent requirements.” Aside from the absence of foreign citizenship “not only during elections, but also at any time earlier,” a candidate must have lived in Russia for at least 25 years – as opposed to the current 10 years.

The Russian leader called for a boost to the powers of parliament, making lawmakers responsible for choosing the prime minister and senior cabinet members.

The role of governors would also be enhanced, he said, though Russia would maintain its presidential system. “Russia must remain a strong presidential republic,” Putin said.

Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev said President Vladimir Putin's proposed constitutional reforms would make significant changes to the country's balance of power and so "the government in its current form has resigned"

1 comment

  1. The changes to the Russian Constitution listed in this article do not include the one change, which, I suppose, was a reason for the entire deal:
    “ Remove the word "in a row" from an article prohibiting being elected president more than twice in a row”
    It seems that Putin decided to live and rule forever. Poor Russians��


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