In a state-of-the-nation speech on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin proposed a national referendum on amendments to the Constitution that would shape the Russian government in the years after the president’s current term ends in 2024. Putin noted that Russia’s parliament is legally capable of changing the Constitution, but he argued that a national vote is necessary to make the amendments legitimate.
The president has suggested multiple changes to Russia’s Constitution, including amendments that would empower the parliament (not the president) to name the prime minister and cabinet ministers, ensure that Russia’s retirement and minimum-wage indexation remain above the official poverty line, and prohibit an array of civil servants from holding foreign citizenship or foreign residence permits.
Additionally, Putin advocated amendments that would limit presidents to two terms (consecutive or not) and called for a requirement that presidential candidates must be permanent residents in Russia for at least 25 years.
Update: Russia's Central Election Commission says it's prepared to organize a national referendum on Constitutional amendments “at any time, once the proposals are finalized,” Commissioner Ella Pamfilova told the news agency Interfax.