MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill on constitutional amendments to the State Duma (the lower house of parliament), Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"Vladimir Putin has submitted a bill on constitutional amendments to the State Duma. The co-chairs of the constitutional commission — [Andrei] Klishas, [Pavel] Kresheninnikov and [Taliya] Khabrieva - will represent the president at the bill’s hearings," Peskov said.
One of the constitutional amendments authorizes the country’s president to form the State Council. "In order to ensure effective coordination and cooperation between Russia’s state bodies, outline the key principles of foreign and domestic policies and the priorities of the country’s social and economic development, the Russian president is supposed to form the State Council of the Russian Federation," says an explanatory note published in the State Duma database.
On January 15, the Russian president signed an order to create a task force to hammer out constitutional amendments. The task force consists of 75 members, including politicians, lawmakers, researchers and public figures. Head of the Federation Council (the upper house of parliament) Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Andrei Klishas, Head of the State Duma Statehood and Constitutional Legislation Committee Pavel Krasheninnikov and Director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the Government of the Russian Federation Taliya Khabrieva co-chair the task force.
While delivering his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, Putin proposed a number of constitutional amendments, particularly calling for providing the State Duma with the powers to approve the appointment of Russia’s prime minister, deputy prime ministers and federal ministers, as well as for holding consultations with the Federation Council on the appointment of senior law enforcement officials. In addition, the head of state emphasized the need to enshrine the priority of national legislation over international law within Russia’s legal space. Some of the other amendments are aimed at strengthening the role of the State Council and regional governors.
Putin also suggested putting the constitutional amendments to the public vote.
The bill limits the country’s president to serving two terms in office. "Russia’s president cannot serve more than two terms," the bill reads. Article 81.3 of the Russian Constitution limits the country’s president to serving two terms "in a row."
The president suggested that the words "in a row" could be removed from the Constitution. However, he pointed out that he did not consider the matter to be crucial.
The document particularly increases time of residence in Russia from 10 to 25 years for candidates vying for Russian presidency and banning them from possessing foreign citizenship or permit residence at any point in time. This qualification will not be applied to Russians formerly having citizenships of states that became part of Russia.
The document was published in the State Duma electronic database and envisages overhaul of article 81 part 4 (Russian President) of the constitution. It currently says that a Russian citizen aged 35 or older who has been residing in Russia for at least 10 years can get elected as president.
The new text now reads that a Russian citizen can be elevated president if they are aged 35 or older, have been residing in Russia for at least 25 years and do not have and have never had foreign citizenship or residence permit or any other document granting right to the Russian citizen to permanently reside in foreign state. At the same time, it is specifically mentioned that the citizenship qualification is not applied to Russian citizens who previously held citizenship of a foreign state that was accepted into Russia or a part of it was accepted into Russia in accordance with a federal constitutional law.