10 Mar, 2020
President Vladimir Putin will be addressing the deputies this afternoon after the proceedings in Russia’s State Duma was temporarily suspended. The parliament was suspended after a suggestion that Presidential term limits be re-set.
The suggestion was made by Valentina Tereshkova, an MP from the ruling ‘United Russia’ party, who is also famous for being the first woman in space.
Under existing rules, Putin must stand aside after the current mandate, his fourth ends. However, putative constitutional changes currently being discussed would limit future President to only two terms. Tereshkova wants to start the clock again, making Putin eligible for two more runs before he would be bound by the new restrictions.
In her speech, she said in the situation Russia now faces [economically and politically] there are “unpredictable risks” meaning “reliable insurance” is needed.
“This insurance, I am 100% sure, is from strong Presidential power and the moral authority of the person who holds the post,” Tereshkova explained. “The question is not really about him [Putin], it is about us, the citizens of Russia, and its future… why make any artificial structures? Everything must be honest and transparent.”
Her speech was met with applause. The head of the United Russia parliamentary party, Sergei Neverov, said it would support such an amendment. Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Volodin, the house speaker, said the initiative required consultation with the president himself and leaders of all Duma parties.
Volodin told journalists that Putin himself will come to the parliament after 3pm Moscow time to address deputies.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party, the largest opposition grouping in the Duma, announced it will not back the nullification of presidential terms. MP Alexander Yushchenko told Moscow news agency Interfax that the party has consistently rejected such a measure.