MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin may sign a decree regarding the date of the public vote on constitutional amendments this week, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Monday, adding that April 22 is the only date considered for the vote so far.
"There are no alternative dates for the vote currently, there are no objective grounds for it," the Kremlin spokesman said. He reminded that the date of the vote must be formalized in a presidential decree, and that Putin has approved the option of holding the vote on April 22. "We will wait for this decree, so far there is no discussion (of postponing the vote - TASS)," Peskov said.
Peskov noted that the president should sign the decree "over the next few days." "It is expected this week, however, there are no strict deadlines," he added.
On March 11, the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) approved the final reading of the constitutional amendments bill proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the same day, it was approved by the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and Russia’s regional parliaments. On March 14, the Russian Federation Council approved a ruling on the outcomes of the parliament’s analysis of the bill, sending it to the president.
The Russian leader has signed the procedural part of the bill, which mandates to send it to Russia’s Constitutional Court. The text of the bill was published on the official legal information portal. If the Constitutional Court rules that the bill does not violate the constitution, a public vote will be held. If over 50% of the vote approve of the changes, the bill will enter into force.
The vote is expected to take place on April 22, which will be declared a non-working day.
The document proposes to expand the powers of the Russian parliament and the Russian Constitutional Court, a fixed number of presidential terms, as well as the prevalence of the Russian Constitution over international agreements. The document also expands the government’s obligations in the social sphere. The amendments to the Constitution stipulate that the Russian head of state can only serve two terms, however, one of the amendments proposes that the current president can be re-elected if the new version of the Constitution comes into force.