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15 Jan, 2020 12:09

‘More powers, more responsibilities’: Putin proposes granting parliament power to choose PM & form government

‘More powers, more responsibilities’: Putin proposes granting parliament power to choose PM & form government

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed granting parliament more powers to nominate key government officials, adding that the president will not be able to reject their picks.

Under the current law, the president nominates the candidate for prime minister, who then must be approved by the lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

In his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday, Putin proposed to change this by “allowing the State Duma not only to approve but to choose” the PM. Under his plan, the prime minister would then present parliament with the candidacies of the deputy prime ministers and government ministers, which the parliament would also confirm.

Putin stressed that the president will “not have the power” to reject any of the candidacies confirmed by the parliament.

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“Taking the major responsibility for forming the government would also mean taking the major responsibility for its policies,” Putin said.

The proposed changes “pave the way for reformatting the system of power ahead of the 2024 presidential election,” political scientist and head of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank Dmitry Trenin told RT.

“It’s clear that the new president cannot inherit Putin’s authority and influence. His constitutional powers will also be [more] limited,” he said.

The prime minister will become more significant, less dependent from the head of the state. The role of the parliament will also increase as its majority will decide who should form the cabinet and who will be its part. 

Putin also proposed to have the existing consultative body, the State Council, written into the constitution. The council today is mainly made up of regional governors and aids the president in implementing his decisions. 

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“The State Council is being seen as a guarantor that the new power structure will work accordingly, instead of falling victim to internal struggles and in-fighting,” Trenin said, explaining that the reformed body will “secure stability” in Moscow, as well as in the regions.

The political scientist believes that Putin himself is likely to lead the State Council after his presidential term expires in 2024. “This way he will continue being the most influential state official and its highest authority,” Trenin suggested.

The changes require amending the Constitution, which Putin proposed to do through a public vote.

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