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Putin proposes referendum on constitutional changes

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Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly at the Manezh exhibition hall in downtown Moscow on January 15, 2020. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP)

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed a referendum on amending Russia’s constitution to increase the powers of parliament while maintaining a strong presidential system.

“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.”

Putin 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.

Russia last conducted a referendum in 1993 when it adopted the constitution under Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin.


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