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Amendments to Russian Constitution take effect July 4

The amendments were supported by 77.92% of those who cast their ballots, while 21.27% opposed them

MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. A package of amendments to Russia’s Constitution, approved in a nationwide popular vote, officially take effect on July 4, as follows from a decree President Vladimir Putin signed on Friday, the Kremlin’s press-service has said.

Putin proposed a number of amendments to the fundamental law to adjust it to the modern realities and build up from the achieved results in a message to the Federal Assembly in January. Since then he has said more than once that the amendments would take effect only after their approval in a nationwide popular vote.

A special working group analyzed hundreds of proposed amendments. The final version of the bill on the proposed changes was adopted by the State Duma on March 11. Later in the same day it was approved by the Federation Council. Their endorsement by the legislative assemblies of all of Russia’s regions followed. The Federation Council then adopted a special resolution on the issue on March 14 and sent it to the president.

A total of 206 amendments to the fundamental law have been introduced. They concern a number of social guarantees, expand the powers of parliament, impose certain restrictions senior officials are obliged to meet, establish the Russian Constitution’s supremacy over international legislation, describe the role and status of the State Council and prohibit the same person from being elected president more than twice, with a reservation, though, that the current head of state will be able to be elected again after the amendments take effect.

On the voting and amendments to laws

Russia’s nationwide popular vote on amendments to the Constitution was held on June 25 to July 1, the latter being the main polling day. The voting procedure was allowed to last for several days as an extra precaution amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Central Election Commission met in session on Friday to adopt a resolution to authorize the results of the voting. The amendments were supported by 77.92% of those who cast their ballots, while 21.27% opposed them. The turnout was as high as 67.97%.

The co-chairperson of the working group on amendments, director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law, Taliya Khabriyeva, told Putin on Friday that after the amendments to the Constitution no less than 650 laws and charters of regions would have to be edited. Also, the amendments will require corrections to no less than 150 government resolutions.

The group’s another co-chairperson, head of the Federation Council’s constitutional legislation and statehood committee, Andrei Klishas, said the bills required for implementing the upgraded Constitution "are ready by and large and will be submitted to the State Duma in the near future."

The group’s co-chairperson, head of the State Duma’s committee for statehood and legislation, Pavel Krasheninnikov, said the amendments to Russian legislation would concern the social sphere, the health service, science and culture, public administration, civil and municipal services, election legislation, defense, security, inviolability of territories and also the development of enterprise, non-commercial activity and civil society. He said that "concerted action by the entire system of public administration will be needed to translate the amendments into life.".