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Russian lawmakers approve sweeping Vladimir Putin reforms

All 432 lawmakers present in the lower house State Duma voted in favour of the Bill, just three days after the amendments were presented to Parliament.

Russian lawmakers on Thursday unanimously approved a sweeping constitutional reform Bill put forward by President Vladimir Putin in its first reading, after less than two hours of debate.

All 432 lawmakers present in the lower house State Duma voted in favour of the Bill, just three days after the amendments were presented to Parliament. “This was a powerful show of unity,” Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said after the vote, adding that the key second reading was expected on February 11.

The Bill will then face a third reading, but with parliament dominated by Kremlin-loyal lawmakers it is unlikely to face much pushback.

Mr. Putin made the call for reforms last Wednesday and it was quickly followed by the resignation of the government and the appointment of a new premier and cabinet.

The breakneck speed of the changes has fuelled speculation about Mr. Putin's plans, with some saying he is laying the groundwork to hold on to power after his current term expires in 2024.

The Russian leader has kept observers guessing with the plan, saying it will transfer more authority to parliament and other state bodies, but also maintain a strong presidency.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 6:27:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russian-lawmakers-approve-sweepingvladimir-putin-reforms/article30636870.ece

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