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Amending constitution is up to Russian people, we’ll do what they vote for – Putin

Amending constitution is up to Russian people, we’ll do what they vote for – Putin
Planned change of the Russian basic law can only be enacted if the Russian people give an unequivocal mandate for it, President Vladimir Putin told a working group preparing the amendments.

“The thing that is important to me is that the law on constitutional amendment comes into force only after the results of a national vote are tallied. It has to be a true plebiscite so that the citizens of Russia acted as the authors of those changes,” he said.

The changes in the Russian constitution proposed by Putin last month are meant to readjust the Russian governance system. A strict two-term limit for the president, as opposed to ‘no more than two terms in a row’ in today’s constitution is one big proposed change. Others add more powers to the Russian parliament to appoint the government, give the president more leeway in appointing regional prosecutors, and enshrine a consultative body called the State Council as a permanent feature.

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The working group that Putin met on Thursday is tasked with taking public feedback and finalizing the wording of the amendments. Hundreds of suggestions on how the Russian constitution can be improved upon have been made, but it’s not clear which of them, if any, will make it into the future law on amendments. Reasonable proposals that don’t make the cut may be useful as basis for future laws or government policies, Putin said at the meeting.

The constitutional changes must also be approved by federal and regional legislatures, followed by a national vote. The Russian leader stressed that the Russian government will heed the will of the people, whatever it says.

“It will be how people say,” Putin said. “If the people do not approve them, the amendments to the constitution will not be made.”

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