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President Elect Vladimir Putin does not oppose to remove the word “in succession” from the Russian Constitution, which limits the presidential powers with “two terms in succession.” After the annual report to the State Duma on Wednesday the incumbent prime minister, who was elected president, was asked the question about his attitude to change the wording of the Constitution.
The debates in the society over the word “in succession” in the provision about the terms of presidency became heated after the protest actions, which accompanied the State Duma and presidential elections in 2011, 2012, the Kommersant daily recalled. The organizers and participants regularly made the demands to revise Article 81 Part 3 of the Constitution, which holds that “the same person cannot occupy the post of the president of the Russian Federation for more than two terms in succession.” The protesters insisted to drop the word “in succession” from this clause.
“In order to make the democracy broader how do you take it, if the bill to exclude the words “two terms of presidential powers in succession” is submitted in the State Duma?” a deputy from the Communist faction Vladimir Bortko asked the prime minister. Vladimir Putin answered to him that he finds “this reasonable.” He also acknowledged that “it is possible to think it over,” noting, “We should do it together with all factions.” Meanwhile, Putin noted, “We are the adults and realize what we are speaking about. The law is not retrospective and will not affect me. After this term I will be able to work for another two terms.”
From the formal logic of the lawyer Vladimir Putin is absolutely right, the Kommersant daily believes. Since those six years of presidency, which Vladimir Putin won on March 4, he gained under the effective provision of the Constitution. And the renewed provision, if the amendment is introduced in the Constitution in next 5-6 years, will set the terms of presidency for the winner at the elections in 2018. Meanwhile, the renewed provision will make it possible to start a new count of terms for the former president and the incumbent president. Otherwise, before the elections in 2018 Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev will have two terms each potentially.
In the long run “the removal of the word “in succession” will definitely play the progressive role,” a member of the political committee of the Yabloko Party Viktor Sheinis acknowledged. Sheinis was participating in a constitutional meeting, which was drafting the effective Constitution in 1993. But only with this removal of the words the continuity of power cannot be provided, he said with confidence. The current lack of alternative to Putin emerged for the last ten years, particularly thanks to “the detailed and consistent revision of the election legislation.”
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily made public the comments of Vice-President of the Centre of Political Technologies Boris Makarenko, “It is clear that it (a probable amendment) does not have an effect on the term of Putin’s presidency that will begin now. But the president elect can be understood that the amendment does not have an effect on his next probable term of presidency either.”
In fact, the expert noted that the interest to this issue is caused by growing moods in the society that he stays in power for too long. The policy of the country does not change. If such amendment is really enacted, the contradiction will arise, the expert said, “How will the society take Putin, who stays in power already for 18 years and is going to rule for another six years?”
The Vedomosti noted Putin said that his initiative will not have an effect on him. This is Putin’s first statement that he can stay at the post of the president until 2024, the newspaper noted.