The incumbent Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, proposed restructuring the country’s political system. Under the proposed policy, Russia would witness the reformation of the country’s constitution structures that ultimately lead to the transfer of power from President to Prime Minister (PM). Many critics alleged that Putin’s move for establishing a parliamentary form of government could allow him to stay in the power after leaving the Kremlin in 2024.
Presidency to Parliamentary System
Putin as the President of Russia has been ruling the country since May 7, 2012, and his tenure for the second term presidency would be completed on May 7, 2024, after the end of his second term presidency (Tenure of a president is for 6 years). Putin, in his annual state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, told the country’s political elite that he wanted to bring a change in the existing constitution in which the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, would hold power to choose the country’s PM and its cabinet ministers.
Under the existing presidency constitution in Russia, anyone cannot serve more than two successive terms in the office of president. Putin will be barred from contesting the election after his tenure in the office ends in 2024. Some analysts considered Putin’s new policy for political structural change was to ensure that he stayed in the power after the end of his term of the presidency through joining in the new house of the parliament.
Putin, in his Wednesday speech, insisted, “Of course these are very serious changes to the political system.” Believing that the civil society and other political groups would support the parliamentary form of government, the President explained, “It would increase the role and significance of the country’s parliament … of parliamentary parties, and the independence and responsibility of the prime minister.” Many media speculated that Putin’s comments on the political change would reflect his future plan after the end of his presidential terms.
Changes Under the Parliamentary System
Under the proposals of installing a parliamentary system, the PM would be the head of the parliament and appoint deputy PM as well as other cabinet ministers which indicated that the president’s power would be diminishing. Referring to the role of the president in the proposed political structure, Putin put “The president would be obliged to appoint them (the parliament’s confirmed picks) to these jobs. He would not be allowed to reject candidates confirmed by parliament.” In addition to this, Putin put forward another proposal that the State Council, a body of the government which is led by him, should be assigned more powers under the constitution.
Critics have long targeted Putin’s endless efforts to stay in the power and these political changes were the options for him to be actively controlling the country after his presidential terms got over. Critics explained that the shifting power of the presidency to parliament would allow Putin to contest the election for the role of PM. Despite the critics’ attack, Putin called for his supporters to accept the change. He remains a popular figure for Russia’s politics as his regime has been able to forge economic stability and bring the country one of the most influential political power in global politics.
Dmitri Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Center, described that Putin had moved for redrawing state powers ahead his current presidency end in 2024. Trenin further put, Putin also appeared to be supporting the existing limit for a presidential successor despite changing the current political structure to a parliamentary form of government.
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