Russia’s lower house extends presidential, parliamentary terms

November 21st, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Nov 21 (RIA Novosti) The State Duma or lower house of Russian parliament Friday approved an amendment to the constitution extending the presidential tenure from four years to six and the parliamentary term to five years. The bill, which now goes through the upper house Federation Council, was passed with 392 votes in favour and 57, all Communist Party members, against the motion.

It will gain constitutional validity when passed by both houses and at least two-thirds of the regional legislatures, and would apply to the successor to incumbent President Dmitry Medvedev.

The bill on a proposal by Medvedev last week triggered speculation that extension of the current four-year parliamentary and presidential terms has been engineered to pave the return of Vladimir Putin as president.

Putin, who was constitutionally barred from running for president for a third term, handpicked Medvedev to succeed him and became the prime minister.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov earlier dismissed speculation that the amendments were for early presidential and parliamentary elections. “Everyone must work to the end of his term,” he said.

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