Russia Aims to Extend Presidential Term Limit | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 12.11.2008
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Russia Aims to Extend Presidential Term Limit

Russia's parliament said it will fast-track a bill to extend the term of the presidency, as early as this week. The move may be a bid to return Vladimir Putin to power.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Will the new regulations help put Putin back in the seat of power?

Approval of a Kremlin bill to extend the presidential term from four to six years will be fast-tracked by the legislature and enacted by Friday, Russia's parliamentary committee on constitutional legislation said Wednesday, Nov. 12.

The legislation may be paving the way for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to return to the presidency, some analysts said.

President Dmitry Medvedev announced he was seeking the constitutional amendment in his first state-of-the-nation address last week.

Vote could be this week

"We recommend that the necessary three readings of the draft law be discharged in one time," lawmaker Vladimir Pligin, who heads the constitutional committee, was quoted by news agency Interfax as saying.

He said the legislature could vote on the amendment as soon as Friday, Nov. 15.

Pligin's comments came one day after the Kremlin submitted the bill to the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.

Suspected power play for Putin

Medvedev's administration can easily muster the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to enact the change, after the dominant pro-Kremlin party headed by his predecessor Vladimir Putin swept the polls in last year's vote.

But legal experts say the term extensions would only apply to future presidents.

Russian analysts said Medvedev was only paving the way for 12 more years of Putin in the Kremlin.

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