Russian government resigns as Vladimir Putin plans future

BBC News | 1/15/2020 | Staff
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Russia's government has resigned, hours after President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could prolong his stay in power.

PM Dmitry Medvedev said the president's proposals would significantly change Russia's balance of power.

Mr - Putin - Mr - Medvedev - Head

Mr Putin asked Mr Medvedev to become deputy head of the National Security Council, which is chaired by Mr Putin.

The president later nominated tax service chief Mikhail Mishustin to replace Mr Medvedev as prime minister.

Announcement - Years - Mr - Putin - Term

The unexpected announcement comes four years before Mr Putin's fourth term of office is due to end.

Under the existing constitution, he would not be entitled to another term.

Leader - Speech - Chambers - Parliament - Vote

The Russian leader said during a speech to both chambers of parliament that there would be a nationwide vote on changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament.

Russian government sources told the BBC that ministers did not know about the government's resignation ahead of the announcement.

Surprise - Source

"It was a complete surprise," one source said.

Mr Medvedev has been prime minister for several years. He previously served as president from 2008-2012, switching roles with Mr Putin - a close ally - after the latter served his first two terms as president.

Russia - Constitution - Presidents - Terms

Russia's constitution only allows presidents to serve two consecutive terms.

Even when he was prime minister, Mr Putin was widely seen as the power behind then President Medvedev.

Changes - Changes - Range - Articles - Constitution

"These changes, when they are adopted... will introduce substantial changes not only to an entire range of articles of the constitution, but also to the entire balance of power, the power of the executive, the power of the legislature, the power of judiciary," Mr Medvedev said of Mr Putin's proposals.

"In this context... the government in its current form has resigned."

Mr - Putin - Proposing

What is Mr Putin proposing?

At the end of his speech, Mr...
(Excerpt) Read more at: BBC News
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