MOSCOW (AP) President Vladimir Putin today fast-tracked work on constitutional changes that could keep him in power well past the end of his term in 2024 while lawmakers quickly sealed his choice for new prime minister.
Speaking to a working group created to draft constitutional changes, Putin cast his proposals as a way to strengthen parliament and to bolster democracy. Kremlin critics described the proposed changes as an attempt by Putin to secure his rule for life.
The Russian leader proposed a set of sweeping amendments to the countrys constitution in Wednesdays state of the nation address. Hours later, he fired Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who was prime minister for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him.