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Russian parliament to approve constitution change

Russia's parliament was on Friday expected to approve constitutional changes extending presidential term lengths, a move analysts suspect could lead to Vladimir Putin returning to the presidency.

The website of the State Duma The State Duma (Russian: Государственная дума  said a first reading would be held on constitutional changes "relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbez├╝glich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 changing the term of office of the Russian president and of the State Duma."

The changes, announced by President Dmitry Medvedev Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev (Russian: Дмитрий Анатольевич Медведев; born September 14, 1965 in Leningrad), is a Russian  earlier this month, would extend presidential terms from four to six years and the Duma's mandate from four to five years.

Approval of Russia's first ever changes to its 1993 constitution requires the assent of both houses of parliament Houses of Parliament: see Westminster Palace.  and of two thirds of Russia's regional assemblies.

The Duma duma (d`mä), Russian name for a representative body, particularly applied to the Imperial Duma established as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1905. , which is overwhelmingly dominated by pro-Kremlin deputies, is expected to wave through the proposals without serious objection, despite criticism from analysts that the changes are being rushed.

Second and third readings on the legislation could take place as soon as next week, Alexander Moskalets, a deputy on the Duma's constitutional law committee, said on Thursday.

A deputy prime minister A Deputy Prime Minister or Vice Prime Minister is, in some countries, a government minister who can take the position of acting Prime Minister when the real Prime Minister is temporarily absent. , Igor Shuvalov, has denied the changes are intended to strengthen the presidency, saying "it should be seen as a balanced model for a new political construct."

The changes have sparked fresh speculation that Medvedev, who succeeded Putin as president in May, could use the pretext of constitutional changes to step down early and make way for a return to the post by his mentor.

Both men have played down such claims without rejecting them outright.

Predicting economic turmoil ahead for Russia, Vladimir Ryzhkov Vladimir Aleksandrovich Ryzhkov (Russian: Владимир Александрович Рыжков , a commentator and former opposition deputy, said in Friday's Moscow Times newspaper: "Putin might try to keep a step ahead of the game once again.

"Using pretexts such as the new constitution and the need to strengthen the state in the face of the crisis, he might through Medvedev announce snap presidential and parliamentary elections as early as March or April."
Copyright 2008 AFP Global Edition
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Nov 14, 2008
Words:318
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