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Deadline for vote on constitutional amendments not set yet, says Kremlin

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Right now, it’s too early to talk about the timeframe and form of the anticipated nationwide vote on the constitutional amendments, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"That will be specified, right now, this is all under development and being discussed," Peskov told reporters. "Let’s be patient," he added.

The spokesman said that information on the amendments to the constitution will be made public once efforts [on suggestions coming to the working group drafting the amendments] and decisions are completed. "Meanwhile, work is in progress," Peskov noted. "This is a multi-stage and complex process related to public discussion," he elaborated.

He also reiterated that work on the amendments is continuing at the initiative of President Vladimir Putin. "We are talking about a presidential initiative, and of course it has not been shelved, but is being hammered out." There has been "no pause" in drafting the proposals, and "work is underway", he stressed.

"The activity started and now it is continuing. Of course, time is needed to do the drafting and editing, to amass the quickly arriving proposals," he noted.

"There are no clear deadlines [for completing the work on the amendments] at the moment, nobody can furnish them, and this is not needed at all. The commission will promptly hammer everything out, and then different aspects will become clear," Peskov explained.

On January 23, Russia’s State Duma (lower house) unanimously voted to approve the bill in the first reading on the constitutional amendments submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, work to draft the constitutional amendments for the second reading, which can be held on February 11, will take 15 days. The document, in particular, stipulates expanding the powers of the legislature and the Constitutional Court, a ban on high-ranking officials from holding residency permits in other countries, limiting the number of presidential terms, placing the supremacy of Russia’s constitution over international agreements and strengthening the state’s social obligations. The presidential bill also provides for a nationwide public vote on the law on amendments to Russia’s constitution.