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14 Nov, 2008 03:16

Six-year presidency expected to sail through

President Dmitry Medvedev's proposed constitutional amendment to extend the presidential term faces little opposition in Parliament. However, one drafter of the constitution says the reform focuses on the wrong parts of government.

The amendment would extend the presidential term from the current four years to six. Supporters like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the notoriously out-spoken leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), back the change, arguing that experience in a leader is what Russia needs.

“Four years is too little for our huge country… People with more experience work better… When you choose a doctor, you’d prefer someone with 20 years of experience rather than two years, right? It’s the same here,” Zhirinovsky said.

However, not everyone agrees. Victor Sheinis, one of the the original drafters of the constitution back in the early 90s, admits that when the document was written in contained some inherent flaws: one is that it allowed for an over-powerful executive branch.

“From the very beginning, the constitution has had a serious defect. It allowed large powers to be concentrated in the administrative branch at the expense of legislative and judicial branches,” Sheinis said.

He is worried that the proposed amendments are being applied to the wrong area.

“What these amendments do is give even more time to the already very powerful institution of presidency, while I believe they should’ve instead strengthened the powers of parliament or courts,” Sheinis added.

Medvedev recently told French newspaper Le Figaro that the proposed extension to the presidential term is what the country demands.

“The office terms of supreme power, be it the president or the parliament should first and foremost suit the interests of the country's development,” Medvedev said.

It all but guaranteed that Medvedev will get his way and the reform will be passed.

Many expect current Prime Minister Putin to run again for president once the current term ends.