Russia’s PM Medvedev steps down after President Putin proposes constitutional changes
Russia’s government unexpectedly resigned on January 15 after the country’s president Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could allow him to extend his rule.
The country’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said he was stepping down to give Putin room to carry out the changes, which, if implemented, would shift power to parliament and the prime minister – and might thus allow Putin, 67, to rule on in another capacity after his current term ends in 2024.
Medvedev, a long-time Putin ally and former president, announced his resignation on state TV whilst sitting beside Putin, who thanked him for his work.
Putin said Medvedev would take on a new job as deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, which Putin chairs.
Attention has now turned to the selection of the country’s next prime minister. The array of possible candidates includes Moscow’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin.
The changes announced on January 15 will be seen by many as the start of Putin’s preparations for his own political future when he leaves the presidency in 2024.
Putin’s choice of prime minister will inevitably be viewed as a possible presidential successor – echoing the way that Putin stepped down from the presidency in 2008 to become prime minister under Medvedev, who then stepped aside four years later to allow Putin to resume the presidency.
In power in one of the two roles since 1999, Putin is due to step down in 2024, when his fourth presidential term ends.
Putin has not yet announced his plans for when his term expires, however under the current constitution which sets a maximum of two successive terms, Putin is barred from immediately running again.