Were you expecting Russian Vladimir Putin to sail off into the sunset after his term ends in 2024? Think again.
Putin, who has remained in power in Russia since 1999 by flip-flopping between the roles of prime minister and president, looks like he's aiming to stick around for the long haul in some capacity, as many have suspected.
In his annual state-of-the-nation speech Wednesday, Putin proposed sweeping changes to Russia's constitution which would transfer several powers from the presidency to parliament and the prime minister, including giving the State Duma — the lower house — the authority to choose the prime minister. The prime minister would then present the rest of the government's ministers and the president would not be allowed to reject the candidates confirmed by parliament. Under the proposed changes, the president would maintain the ability to dismiss the prime minister and other cabinet ministers.
The speculation is that Putin could step into the enhanced prime minister's role or another, since Russia's constitution bars presidents from serving more than two consecutive terms, Reuters reports. Putin didn't specify a timeline for a referendum.
BREAKING: Russian President Putin on Wednesday proposed a nationwide vote on sweeping constitutional changes that would shift power from the presidency to parliament and the prime minister, a move that could allow him to extend his rule after leaving the Kremlin, Reuters reports.
In other major news out of Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Wednesday after Putin's speech that he and his government would resign. He's slated to remain in a position of power as the head of Russia's security council, but Russian political analyst Alexey Kurtov told Deutsche Welle that the resignation may signal that Medvedev may have disagreed with his long-time ally's proposal. Tim O'Donnell