Vladimir Putin smile
Vladimir Putin smile

REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

  • The Russian government headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is resigning to give the country’s president the ability to more easily reshape the constitution, he announced Wednesday.

  • The decision follows an a speech earlier Wednesday by President Vladimir Putin proposing changes to the constitution that would limit the power of the presidency, effectively weakening his successor.

  • The changes would reallocate some of the powers of the president to the parliament and the prime minister.

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The Russian government headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is resigning following calls by President Vladimir Putin to amend the constitution, the prime minister said on state television Wednesday, according to Russia’s TASS News Agency.

The decision comes after Putin delivered a televised speech earlier Wednesday proposing sweeping changes to the Russian constitution that would limit impose a two-term limit on future presidents and allow parliament instead of the president to choose the prime minister and cabinet officials, moves that would limit the power of the next president.

Putin has been in power as either the president or the prime minister since 1999, but he will be required to step down in 2024. The proposed amendments could provide a pathway to continued power for Putin after he leaves office.

“After those amendments are adopted,” Medvedev, sitting next to the president, said on state television, “there will be significant changes not only to a variety of constitution articles, but to the balance of power, namely to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of power.”

“In this context,” he continued, “it is evident that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should provide our country’s president with an opportunity to take all the necessary decisions in these conditions. I believe it right for the government of the Russian Federation to step down in conformity with Article 117 of Russia’s Constitution.”

The Russian president thanked Medvedev for his service. “Not everything was done, but everything never works out in full,” Putin added.

The prime minister and his government’s resignation will allow Putin to select new senior officials as he works to reshape the Russian government. Medvedev is to become the new deputy head of Russia’s Security Council. Putin has instructed the resigning government to continue performing its duties as normal until a new one can be appointed.

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