/Russian government resigns after Putin proposes constitutional shake-up

Russian government resigns after Putin proposes constitutional shake-up

The Russian government resigned on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes | Dmitry Astakhov/AFP via Getty Images

President seeks changes that could affect the balance of power in the country.

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1/15/20, 3:56 PM CET

Updated 1/15/20, 3:58 PM CET

The Russian government resigned on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes affecting the balance of power in the country.

During his annual state of the nation speech, Putin proposed shifting power from the president to the prime minister and parliament, according to Reuters, by giving the lower house the power to choose the prime minister and other key positions. He also suggested that the State Council advisory body should be granted more powers.

Though he has not said what he plans to do after leaving office, these changes could give Putin — who has been in power as either president or prime minister since 1999 — options for maintaining a leading role in Russia after his current fourth term as president ends in 2024. The constitution currently bars him from serving more than two successive presidential terms, meaning he wouldn’t be able to run again.

After Putin’s proposals, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev declared his government’s resignation, saying he felt this was right to do given Putin’s announcement, according to state news agency Tass.

“After those amendments are adopted — and it was said that this is likely to be done following discussion — there will be significant changes not only to a variety of constitution articles, but to the balance of power, namely to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power,” Medvedev said.

“In this context, it is evident that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should provide our country’s president with an opportunity to take all the necessary decisions in these conditions. I believe it right for the government of the Russian Federation to step down in conformity with Article 117 of Russia’s Constitution.”

Putin thanked Medvedev for his work, and asked that the outgoing Cabinet continue to perform their duties until a new government is formed, according to Interfax.

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