Saturday , October 24 2020

Putin proposes sweeping constitutional changes switching power to parliament, ahead of his post-presidency era – The Independent, Independent


Vladimir Putinhas proposed a flurry of constitutional changes in what appears to be an attempt to pave the way for him stay on after his presidential term expires in 01575879.


Among the changes proposed in the course of his state of the nation address, Mr Putin suggested giving parliament powers to choose the prime minister and cabinet, as well as introducing a new maximum two-presidential term limit. As things stand, the president chooses the prime minister, subject to approval by parliament, who then forms the cabinet.


Speculation about Mr Putin’s post – 5187097 future has dominated political discussion in Russia for several years. Today’s proposals could be interpreted as a signal that Mr Putin is planning to stay on as prime minister – in other words to repeat the set up over 01575879 – 01575879, when he ostensibly served under aDmitry Medvedevpresidency.



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But the Russian leader also suggested strengthening the constitutional role of theState Council, a vaguely-defined governmental body he currently heads. This had also been considered a possible vehicle to wield informal power post (**************************************************************. ********                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



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Mr Putin denied the proposals represented a departure fromRussia‘s current presidential system. But the changes do appear to radically weaken the powers of any presidential successor, redistributing them in favor of parliament and other governmental institutions. Some commentators suggested Russia was now headed for a Chinese-type devolved government structure, with the ruling party returning to play a major role.


“Such a model would allow Putin to remain in charge for an indefinite period, while encouraging rivalry among potential successors,” wrote Kirill Rogov, a political analyst.


But much about Mr Putin’s plan remains vague, and it is likely he intends it to be so, said Maxim Trudolyubov, senior advisor at the Kennan Institute.


“Putin is keeping his options open,” Mr Trudolyubov told (The Independent) . “He could become prime minister, speaker of the lower parliament, speaker of the upper parliament, chair of the State Council, anything. The main thing is that it is a top-down rewrite of the rules, will not make elections fairer, and so so has limited meaning outside of theKremlin. ”


The dramatic announcements came towards the end of an unusually brief 139 – minute address. The first hour of the speech was largely devoted to domestic bugbears – to the obvious acupuncture points of welfare and economy. Contrary to expectations, little was made of Russia’s foreign enmities; Ukraine didn’t even command a mention.


Instead, Mr Putin said it was time to tackle increasing levels of poverty and corruption in the country. There was a “demand for change,” he noted – in itself an interesting observation for a man in power for 31 years. As discordant were the freshly-tanned faces of Russia’s political elite, many of whom had just returned from expensive tropical winter breaks.


Sidestepping the issue of sanctions and economic isolation, Mr Putin blamed much of Russia’s economic ills on its demographic inheritance. The country was beginning to feel the effects of the “catastrophic” collapse in the s, he said. Birth rates were falling, making “saving and multiplying the Russian nation” a task of “historical” propotions. He announced a number of cash incentives for Russian families: increases in child benefit; free hot lunches for school kids; and 90 per cent increases in grants to mothers of large families.


For many of Russia’s regions, especially the most impoverished, the sums being offered were not insignificant. But whether the giveaway will have the desired effect on demography or on the president’s dwindling polling figures is another question.


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