Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that it would be better not to return to allowing the country's head of state to serve for an indefinite term. The statement was in response to a proposal that was raised during a meeting with the president by a Russian war veteran to implement such a practice. Previously, Putin suggested during his address to the country's parliament to change the country's Constitution so that a person can only hold the post of president for a total of two terms without exception.
Putin added that it would be "extremely worrisome" to return to the practice of the mid-1980s in the USSR when its leaders served until they died without preparing a proper transition of power. "When it comes to presidential terms, I understand that it's tied to people's concerns for stability in society, in the country, in foreign relations", he said.
The Russian head of state's statements come hot on the heels of his address to the country's parliament, in which he proposed making constitutional amendments regulating the way presidents are elected, among other things. Further, he suggested limiting presidential candidates to being Russian citizens who have never had foreign citizenship or residence permit and require them to have lived in Russia for at least 25 years.
Additionally, Putin suggested removing a clause that allows a person to be re-elected as president after serving two terms and then leaving the post for at least one term.
Earlier in his speech on Wednesday, Putin presented his plan to amend the constitution as a way to improve democracy. By suggesting that lawmakers could name prime ministers and Cabinet members, he also curtailed the authority of the president, who currently holds that power. Putin also said the constitution could specify a greater role for the State Council, an obscure consultative body of regional governors and federal officials, indicating that he might take a leading position there.
He also sought to prioritize the primacy of Russian laws, so that the European Court of Human Rights would no longer have the authority to issue rulings that Moscow opposed. All this would “strengthen the role of civil society, political parties, and regions in making key decisions about the development of our state,” Putin said Thursday in discussing the amendments with lawmakers.
(with inputs from agencies)
(Image credits: AP)