President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed a referendum on amending Russia’s constitution to increase the powers of parliament while maintaining a strong presidential system.
“I consider it necessary to conduct a vote by the country’s citizens on an entire package of proposed amendments to the country’s constitution,” Putin said in his annual address to lawmakers, without specifying any date for a vote.
“We will be able to build a strong prosperous Russia only on the basis of respect for public opinion,” said the 67-year-old leader, who has been in power for the past 20 years.
“Together we will certainly change life for the better.”
Putin called for a boost to the powers of parliament, making lawmakers responsible for choosing the prime minister and senior cabinet members.
“This will increase the role and significance of the country’s parliament,” Putin said.
A president will not have the power to reject the proposed candidacies, Putin said, but will be able to later remove the prime minister and senior cabinet members.
“Russia must remain a strong presidential republic,” Putin said.
The role of governors would also be enhanced, he added.
He suggested that a clause limiting the president to two successive terms could be changed, but did not specify how.
In December, Putin indicated he was in favour of removing the word “successive” from the clause.
Putin also suggested a constitutional change that would enshrine the priority of domestic legislation over international law.
Russia last conducted a referendum in 1993 when it adopted the constitution under Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin.
Image: SPUTNIK/AFP / Alexey NIKOLSKY
Jake Tapper stunned by Trump’s debate: ‘That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck’
CNN Jake Tapper reacted in shock on Tuesday following the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.
"That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck," Tapper said. "That was the worst debate I have ever seen. In fact, it wasn't even a debate. It was a disgrace."
"And it's primarily because of President Trump," he remarked, "who spent the entire time interrupting, not abiding by the rules that he agreed to, lying, maliciously attacking the son of the vice president. When asked to condemn white supremacists, he brought up the name of a neo-fascist, far-right group and said, 'Stand back and stand by.'"
Trump causes widespread shock by refusing to call out white supremacy at first 2020 debate
President Donald Trump was asked to call out white supremacy during the first 2020 general election presidential debate -- and refused to do so.
Instead of calling out white supremacists, Trump instead said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by!”
Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's views on racism:
Trump defiantly refuses to condemn extremists groups at debate: ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by’
President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused an opportunity to disavow right-wing extremists and white supremacist groups.
At his first 2020 presidential debate, Trump was asked if he would speak out against the extremist groups.
"Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" moderator Chris Wallace asked the president.
"I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing," Trump complained. "I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."
"Do it, sir," Wallace said.
"Say it," Democratic candidate Joe Biden chimed in.