Russia’s State Duma Adopts Constitutional Changes in the First Sitting

Russian MPs unanimously accepted a wide-ranging constitutional reform bill presented by President Vladimir Putin in its first hearing, and after less than two hours of debate.

All 432 legislators attending the lower house State Duma voted in support of the bill, only three days after the amendments were presented to Parliament, AFP reports.

"This was a powerful show of unity," Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said after the vote, he added that the second hearing is expected to take place on February 11.

The bill will then be presented for a third hearing and it is unlikely to face much opposition.

Putin called for reforms last Wednesday, a move rapidly followed by the resignation of his entire cabinet and the appointment of a new prime minister.

Once ratified in three readings at the Duma, the bill will go to the upper house Federation Council before getting a final signature from Putin.

In his State of the Nation speech last week, Putin recommended modifying the Constitution because "things have changed dramatically" since its adoption in 1993.

He summarized some suggestions, which include increasing the role of the State Council, currently serving as an advisory body, bestowing more responsibilities to Parliament, and introducing strict requirements for officials trying to hold public offices.

by B.Alexishvili



23 January 2020 16:22