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Suggested amendments give Russian ex-presidents right to be senators for life

However, they reserve the right to renounce the authority of a member of the Federation Council

MOSCOW, February 11. /TASS/. Former presidents of the Russian Federation will get the right to become life members of the Federation Council (upper house) after the term of their office ends, under the amendments suggested by a group of parliamentarians from the upper and lower houses of the parliament.

According to the amendments, the former presidents may become senators for life "after the term of their office expires or after an early termination of their term of office in case of resignation," the press service of the State Duma Committee on State Building and Legislation reported on Tuesday.

However, "they reserve the right to renounce the authority of a member of the Federation Council," it specified.

The amendments to Chapter 5 of the Russian Constitution (the Federal Assembly) were initiated by Chairman of the State Duma Committee on State Building and Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of the same-name commission of the upper house Andrey Klishas, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, senators Svetlana Goryacheva, Alexei Pushkov, legislators Andrey Makarov, Yaroslav Nilov and Galina Khovanskaya. According to Krasheninnikov, amendments were worked out based on suggestions from the working group for constitutional amendments.

They concern, in particular, the procedure of shaping the Federation Council, which is made up of representatives from the regions, while the president also has the right to submit his candidacies. The presidential share is no more than 10% (17 people) at the moment, Krasheninnikov said as quoted by the press service of the committee.

The amendments suggest "increasing the presidential share to 30 people, of whom seven representatives can be appointed by the president for life for merits to the country in their state and public activity". "These can be, for example, renowned scholars, medics, cultural and public activists, etc. As for the rest representatives of the Russian Federation to the upper house of the parliament, a six-year term of office is suggested," the parliamentarian added.

On January 23, Russia’s State Duma unanimously voted to approve the bill in the first reading on the constitutional amendments submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 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.