Russia’s president Vladimir Putin remained secretive about his future role as he rushed a set of his recently proposed constitutional changes.
He said the reforms are intended to strengthen government bodies. However, the move is seen as his attempt to stay in power after his current term ends in 2024.
Under the new rules, some of the president’s powers would be clipped and parliament’s powers expanded. The constitution will also change the status of the State Council, making it a low-profile body that advises the president. Observers say that this time he will not switch positions with the prime minister. Instead, they believe he will be given a special state organ to lead (the State Council), which will allow him to retain power.
Putin said that “the emergence of a position above the presidency would mean a dual power, which is absolutely unacceptable for a country like Russia. It would erode the presidency”. However, he also said that the country must maintain a strong presidency:
“We have so many nationalities and ethnic groups with different ways of life, and it’s practically impossible to integrate all of that under a parliamentary republic. Our country should undoubtedly be a presidential republic”, he said.
Last week, Russia’s government suddenly resigned and the head of Russia’s tax service, Mikhail Mishustin, was named as the prime minister, replacing Dimitry Medvedev. Putin has been in power for more than 20 years, both as a president and as a prime minister.