Second attempt to amend constitution

The Russian parliament is to discuss again amending the constitution in order to extend the terms of office for both president and parliament. It is the second reading in parliament of the proposal presented by President Medvedev.

If Medvedev’s initiative passes the parliament, Russia’s president will serve for six years and parliament for five. Presently, both serve a four-year term.

The changes were mooted by Dmitry Medvedev during his state of the nation address earlier this month.

He says they are needed to deal with current challenges facing the country such as the global financial crisis, and to help sustain Russia's progress while increasing accountability of politicians.

Speaking on Tuesday to journalists in the central Russian city of Izhevsk the president explained again what's behind his proposal.

“Any constitution or political system is a thing made by politicians, legislators and not something given from above. And it's an attempt to describe a political and legal system adequate for the country's present-day life,” the statement said.

"The world adopts constitutional changes and even new constitutions not because of some politicians' ambitions, although it might be the case sometimes, but because of a desire to create more stable legal and political systems. Some countries do it more often, some not so often. Russia should keep pace as well.

“My proposal is not spontaneous – it has been well thought through. I started thinking about it some five years ago but never thought I would have to translate it into reality,” Medvedev stressed.