Left Menu
Development News Edition

Putin cements power as Russian Duma votes for new PM

PTI | Moscow | Updated: 16-01-2020 17:47 IST | Created: 16-01-2020 17:44 IST
Putin cements power as Russian Duma votes for new PM
File photo Image Credit: ANI

Russian lawmakers are set to quickly approve the appointment of a new prime minister Thursday, a day after President Vladimir Putin kicked off an unexpected reshuffle of his inner circle that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024. Mikhail Mishustin, the chief of Russia's tax service, met with lawmakers from various factions in the State Duma ahead of the confirmation vote in the Kremlin-controlled lower house.

Mishustin vowed to focus on social issues and improve living standards. "We have all the necessary resources to fulfill the goals set by the president," he said.

"The president wants the Cabinet to spearhead economic growth and help create new jobs. Raising real incomes is a priority for the government." Mishustin would succeed Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin associate who was Russia's prime minister for eight years. Medvedev resigned hours after Putin proposed sweeping changes to the constitution.

Medvedev served as president in 2008-2012, keeping the seat warm for Putin who continued calling the shots as prime minister when he was forced to step down from the top job due to term limits. Under Medvedev, the constitution was amended to extend the presidential term from four years to six, although it limits the leader to two consecutive terms.

Putin has kept his longtime ally Medvedev in his close circle, appointing him to the newly created post of deputy head of the presidential Security Council. The 53-year-old Mishustin is a career bureaucrat who has worked as the tax chief for the past 10 years, keeping a low profile and showing no political ambitions.

He has won a good reputation among experts who praised him for boosting tax collection and streamlining Russia's rigid tax administration system. The reshuffle sent shock waves through Russia's political elites, who were left pondering what Putin's intentions were and speculating about future Cabinet appointments.

A constitutional reform that Putin announced in a state-of-the-nation address indicated he was working to carve out a new governing position for himself after his current six-year term ends in 2024, although it remains unclear what specific path he will take to stay in charge. Putin has been in power longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. Under the current law, Putin must step down when his current term ends.

Putin suggested amending the constitution to allow lawmakers to name prime ministers and Cabinet members. The president currently holds the authority to make those appointments.

At the same time, Putin argued that Russia would not remain stable if it were governed under a parliamentary system. The president should retain the right to dismiss the prime minister and Cabinet ministers, to name top defense and security officials, and to be in charge of the Russian military and law enforcement agencies, he said.

In his address, Putin said the constitution must also specify the authority of the State Council consisting of regional governors and top federal officials. Observers speculated that Putin might try to stay in charge by shifting into the prime minister's seat again after increasing the powers of parliament and the Cabinet and trimming presidential authority.

Others suggested that he could also try to continue pulling the strings as head of the council and could even shift into a new position before his term ends. Another potential option is a merger with neighboring Belarus that would create a new position of the head of a new unified state.

That prospect that has been rejected by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an autocratic ruler who has been in power for more than a quarter-century. Later on Thursday, Putin is expected to attend a meeting of the working group to draft constitutional amendments.

Putin said that the constitutional changes need to be approved by a public vote, but officials said it doesn't imply a referendum and it wasn't immediately clear how it will be organized.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

China: A savior for emerging markets or a poison pill?

... ...

Future of Urban Planning: Artificial Intelligence guiding the way

Advances in emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help us understand our cities better and derive useful insights from real-time data collected through automated models....

Videos

Latest News

Home First Finance Company IPO subscribes 2.22 times on Day 2

The Rs 1,154-crore initial public offering of mortgage financier Home First Finance Company was subscribed 2.22 times on Friday, the second day of the bidding process.The IPO has received bids for 3.46 crore equity shares against an offer s...

No COVID-19 case in Dharavi in 24 hours, 2nd clean slate day

Dharavi in Mumbai did not reporta single COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, the second suchinstance during the outbreak after December 25, a civicofficial said on Friday.The area, among the densest urban settlements in theworld, has a case...

After discontent among ministers, Yediyurappa makes changes in portfolios

Amid reports of unhappiness among his ministers over portfolio allocation, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday made some changes in portfolios. He made the changes a day after he had allocated portfolios following the expansi...

COVID-19 vaccine supply not affected due to fire: Adar Poonawalla

The supply of COVID-19 vaccines has not been affected due to the recent fire that broke out at the Serum Institute of Indias SII facility in Pune, confirmed the companys CEO Adar Poonawalla on Friday. The supply of COVID-19 vaccine will not...

Give Feedback