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Putin offers to discuss amendments to Russian Constitution further

The document proposes to expand the powers of the Russian parliament and the Russian Constitutional Court and sets a fixed number of presidential terms

NOVO-OGARYOVO, June 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin finds it necessary to discuss the amendments to the Russian Constitution further.

"We believe that as the situation with the pandemic is improving and we are returning to normal way of life, we must, among other things, think about further discussion of constitutional amendments," the Russian leader said during a working session on Monday involving members of the working group on preparing amendments to the Russian Constitution.

Putin recalled that earlier, the date for the constitutional amendments vote had been set as April 22, however, the vote was postponed "taking into account the main priority — maintaining the health and safety of citizens." "Nothing can be more important than this," the president said.

"Some significant events have transpired since we began the fight against the pandemic," Putin noted. "On the whole, we have managed to resolve the main issue together — we have avoided an explosive development of the situation under the negative scenario, which allows us to return to our normal way of life." The Russian leader noted that the situation "is gradually stabilizing."

"This is why we must return to our joint work on the constitutional amendments," the president addressed the participants of the session. He offered to discuss "what needs to be done in the near future."

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 Federation Council (upper house of parliament) and later by regional parliaments.

The text of the bill was published on the official legal information portal. Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, which states that the bill does not violate the Constitution, a public vote will be held. If over 50% of the Russian public approve of the changes, the bill will enter into force.

The vote was initially set to take place on April 22, however, Putin chose to postpone it due to the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Russia.

The document proposes to expand the powers of the Russian parliament and the Russian Constitutional Court, sets a fixed number of presidential terms and states 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.