Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Russian leader signs presidential term extension: Kremlin

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday signed into law constitutional amendments extending presidential terms from four years to six, the Kremlin said, following a high-speed approval process.

A Kremlin spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that Medvedev had approved the amendments, after they were announced in early November and pushed through the national parliament and all 83 regional assemblies in less than two months.

Analysts have speculated the changes could be designed to pave the way for a return to the presidency by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who left the Kremlin in May but is often viewed as continuing to wield true power in Russia.

Last month the Vedomosti daily newspaper cited two Kremlin sources as saying that Medvedev would resign soon after the approval of the amendments and that Putin would then run in a presidential election in 2009.

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